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Messi is ready to face Uruguay in the World Cup qualifiers

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Argentine striker Lionel Messi has recovered from the knee and hamstring problems that caused him to miss the last two matches of Paris Saint-Germain and is scheduled to start against Uruguay in the World Cup qualifiers on Friday.

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said the squad worked separately with the 34-year-old to prepare him for his two away matches against Uruguay in Montevideo and at home to Brazil on Tuesday.

“Messi is in good shape and wants to play, and I also want to be involved,” Scaloni told reporters.

The recall of Messi angered Leonardo, the sporting director of Paris Saint-Germain, but Scaloni sought to calm things down.

“We have a good relationship with Leonardo and we fully understand his reaction as Messi has spent a lot of time with the national team recently,” said Scaloni.

“But we follow the proper procedures in calling him up to the national team, which is a permanent problem for European clubs.”

Argentina is second in the South American qualifiers, six points behind Brazil after 11 matches.

The top four teams qualify directly for the finals in Qatar in 2022, while the fifth-placed team will enter the international playoffs.

Argentina won the Copa America in July and has not lost in 25 matches so far, with a record dating back to mid-2019.

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