Barcelona star Lionel Messi is set to keep his place in the Argentina team as they prepare to take on Costa Rica in a friendly on Tuesday evening. He will be one of the only players from the side which drew 1-1 against the USA at the weekend to retian their spot in a much-altered side.
Albiceleste coach Sergio Batista had previously stated his intention to rotate his first XI as he faces off against fellow Argentine Ricardo La Volpe and his Central American side, and Ole reports that up to seven new faces can be expected to take the field in the Estadio Nacional in San Jose for one of the first matches to be played in the remodelled ground.
The newspaper reports however that 'La Pulga', along with second-choice goalkeeper Mariano Andujar and Javier Mascherano, is almost certain to repeat his centre-forward role against the Tricolor; playing alongside Benfica's Nicolas Gaitan and Javier Pastore of Palermo in an attacking trident.
The news is likely to irritate Barcelona officials and sections of the Spanish media, who have accused 'Checho' of overusing Messi, to the point of "squeezing" the World Player of the Year. Messi however is crucial to the tecnico's plans for the Copa America and World Cup Qualifying, and it appears that in Argentina there is one player at least who cannot afford to be rested.
The official confirmation of the team is expected later on Monday afternoon.
Possible Argentina XI to take on Costa Rica (4-3-3):
Andujar; Angeleri, Garay, Fazio, Rojo or Zanetti; Banega or Belluschi, Mascherano, Biglia; Gaitan, Messi, Pastore.