Coach Lionel Scaloni said on Wednesday that Argentina were fit enough to play in the World Cup qualifiers, despite having played less than half an hour for their new club Paris Saint-Germain this season.
“I have no doubt after talking to him,” Scaloni told reporters in Caracas a day before Argentina’s clash with Venezuela.
“Although he doesn’t have the same game time (he was with Barcelona) he is going to play and we hope in all three games.”
Messi has not played a full match since July 10, when he made his debut for Argentina in the Copa America final.
He has spent most of his time with Barcelona since moving to Paris 18 years later.
The 34-year-old made his PSG debut on Sunday when he came on as a substitute against the Rams and played 24 minutes in a 2-0 win.
He trained before his three qualifiers against Argentina on Wednesday. Two-time world champions Brazil will play Bolivia on September 5 in Sao Paulo and September 9 in Buenos Aires.
They are second behind Brazil in the 10-team South American qualifying group, with the top four automatically qualifying for Qatar 2022.
Scaloni praised the players who came from England despite a controversial move to block travel to Premier League clubs.
The league said its clubs would not release players called up for international duty if they were playing in a country on Britain’s red list, but two Austin Villa players and two who play for Tottenham Hotspur. Make you available for key qualifiers.
Austin Villa said his players, Emiliano Bondia and Emiliano Martinez, would go home before the third game to miss fewer Premier League matches.
Scaloni, however, denied the club’s statement.
“We have listed three games and the players are here to play all three,” he said.
“We never heard a negative (response), we talked to most of the clubs and discussed it and we came to the conclusion that they have to come,” Scaloni added.