Argentina's Lionel Messi grimaces during a Copa America Group A soccer match against Chile in East Rutherford, N.J., Tuesday, June 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)
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Lionel Messi will skip Argentina’s last Copa America group match against Peru on Saturday because of a right leg injury.

Messi hurt his leg in Argentina’s 1-0 victory over Chile on Tuesday that clinched a quarterfinal berth for the defending champions. The Argentina superstar received treatment on his right thigh area after getting kicked by Chile defender Gabriel Suazo in the 24th minute, but he remained in the game.

Argentina assistant coach Walter Samuel said Friday that the team will go “day to day” with Messi’s injury and monitor how it progresses.

“The absence of Leo means a lot to us and to football in general,” Samuel said through a translator.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni did not attend Friday’s news conference after being suspended for Saturday’s match in Miami Gardens, Florida, after his team was late returning for the second half in its previous two Copa America matches.

Messi has battled injuries since joining Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami last season, and Miami head coach Tata Martino and the team have been tasked with prioritizing his health amid a packed schedule. The 37-year-old Messi missed six matches at the end of his first MLS season because of a leg injury and missed a handful of games at the beginning of this season because of a hamstring injury.

Although Argentina has already advanced to the knockout stage, it will win Group A unless it loses to Peru at Hard Rock Stadium and Canada beats Chile in a game played simultaneously in Orlando.

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