Lo Celso is irreplaceable, says coach Scaloni as Argentina sweats on midfielder’s injury

Giovani Lo Celso was replaced on Sunday 24 minutes into Villarreal’s LaLiga match against Athletic Bilbao and the initial diagnosis showed a muscle rupture injury.

(FILE) Argentina’s Giovani Lo Celso in action.

(FILE) Argentina’s Giovani Lo Celso in action. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Giovani Lo Celso was replaced on Sunday 24 minutes into Villarreal’s LaLiga match against Athletic Bilbao and the initial diagnosis showed a muscle rupture injury.

Argentina has no readymade replacement for midfielder Giovani Lo Celso who is in danger of missing the World Cup due to a hamstring injury, coach Lionel Scaloni has said.

La albiceleste are already fretting over injuries to Paulo Dybala and Angel Di Maria but losing Lo Celso, a key player in their Copa America win and World Cup qualification, would be a huge blow.

Lo Celso is a crucial part of Scaloni’s midfield formation along with Leandro Paredes and Rodrigo de Paul.

“Numerically there is a replacement, but football-wise there is not,” Scaloni told TyC Sports. “There are others with other abilities, but it is evident that he has given us a lot.”

The 26-year-old Lo Celso was replaced on Sunday 24 minutes into Villarreal’s LaLiga match against Athletic Bilbao and the initial diagnosis showed a muscle rupture injury.

Spanish media reported that Villarreal will provide a final update on Monday, with Scaloni saying there was no point bringing him to Argentina for evaluation.

“He is being treated there, with trained people. I want him to arrive healthy.”

Scaloni also highlighted the risks of playing the World Cup in the middle of a season and complained about the number of club matches players were asked to play in October.

“That’s what it means to play a World Cup in the middle of a championship with a crazy month of October, with matches every three days,” he added. “And then give you the players three days before the start of a World Cup.

“Whoever gets on the plane will be fit to play the first match ... but there are a few variations we have to evaluate according to the positions.”

Argentina play a warm-up match against the United Arab Emirates on Nov. 16 before their opening World Cup Group C game against Saudi Arabia on Nov. 22. They also face Mexico and Poland in the group stage. 

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