Gerardo Martino has confirmed that super star Lionel Messi is likely to be fit

Argentina coach Gerardo Martino has confirmed that super star Lionel Messi is likely to be fit for the game against Panama on Friday. Messi has been a major absentee for Argentina since the start of the tournament.

He has been struggling with back issues even during the pretournament friendly games. This forced to miss the game against Chile in the opening match. Argentina were able to claim a crucial 2-1 win over the reigning Copa America holders. This has provided them with a major psychological edge, but Argentina can progress only with the return of Messi.

Martino has had to answer a lot of questions about the potential return of Messi. He has confirmed that the Barcelona superstar is likely to return to the squad for the game against Panama. This will be of major importance to Argentina’s hopes of winning the tournament for the first time since 1993. Considering the stature of players have represented the national team over the last two decades, it is astonishing that Argentina have been unable to win the trophy even once since 1993. Of course, they have come as the runners up on three occasions since then. Martino’s job will be to eradicate the tag of chokers and win the title.

"He has continued working here, he's kicking the ball better now.We expect in four days he'll be in a condition to play. So we're thinking we will be in a better position by then. We're always a better team when Messi is in the team. Our chances of winning the Copa are always going to be higher when he's playing,” said the Argentina coach about Messi’s return. In the absence of Messi, Benfica's Nicolas Gaitan was called into action and he performed better than expectations. Still, the return of Messi is highly anticipated.