Messi on bench for Argentina in Copa opener against Chile

ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 07, 2016 09:46 AM
Messi on bench for Argentina in Copa opener against Chile
FILE - In this June 30, 2015, file photo, Argentina's Lionel Messi kicks the ball during a Copa America semifinal soccer match against Paraguay at the Ester Roa Rebolledo Stadium in Concepcion, Chile. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo, File)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Lionel Messi will be on the bench for top-ranked Argentina's Copa America opener and rematch of last year's final against No. 5 Chile.

The news about the 28-year-old Barcelona star before Monday night's match at Levi's Stadium was hardly a surprise given the midfielder's recent back injury. He practiced on the side during Sunday's training and not with the full team.

Messi  testified last Thursday in his tax fraud trial in Spain and joined the national team the next day.

Playing at home last year, Chile beat Argentina and Messi 4-1 on penalty kicks for La Roja's first Copa championship. Argentina's senior team has not won a major title since the 1993 Copa.

Nicolas Gaitan was set to start in Messi's place.

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