Brazil coach Fernando Diniz has admitted that his side is worried about facing Lionel Messi ahead of their crucial 2026 World Cup qualifying match against Argentina. The highly anticipated clash is set to take place at the iconic Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.
Diniz expressed his concerns about Messi’s exceptional skills and decision-making prowess on the pitch, acknowledging the Argentine superstar’s potential to influence the outcome of the match. He stated, “Sure, you can’t not worry about a player of that magnitude. But we have to play our game as we try to contain all the creative capacity he has. Dealing with Messi is obviously different, and you have to worry. It’s impossible not to worry about a player of his stature and the decision-making power he has.”
Brazil’s preparations for the match have been disrupted by the absence of Vinicius Jr., who is sidelined with a muscle injury. Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus is expected to replace Vinicius in the starting lineup, marking his return from a month-long injury layoff.
The Selecao has faced a challenging start to their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign, securing only two wins from their opening five matches. They currently sit in fifth place, five points behind Argentina, who lead the standings.
Following the qualifying games, Messi will embark on a well-deserved break. His club, Inter Miami, is reportedly considering a pre-season friendly against his boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys in 2024 before the start of the new MLS season.
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