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Montillo set to replace injured Messi
Jun 07, 2013 8:56 AM EST
Alejandro Sabella says Walter Montillo is in line to replace injury-doubt Lionel Messi for Argentina's World Cup qualifier against Colombia.Argentina can secure their place at World Cup 2014 in Brazil with a win at River Plate's Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires on Friday.
Argentina coach Sabella has one major fitness concern in the form of Messi, who was called up to the national side despite struggling with a hamstring problem since April.
And the 25-year-old was a notable absentee for the final training session before the Colombia clash.
"If Messi can't play, the alternative is Walter Montillo," the Argentina coach told reporters at a press conference.
"His leg is OK. He looks quick and capable of taking on defenders, but we need to see how fit he is after so long without playing. The doubt is due to his inactivity.
"We will make the decision this afternoon; we will do a little very light training session to see how everyone in the squad is in general, particularly Messi."
Messi's importance to Argentina is obvious, with Celta Vigo midfielder Augusto Fernandez claiming even when half-fit, the Barcelona superstar can help the team.
"He can make the difference with one leg, that's why we want him to play," he said.
The three time Ballon d'Or winner's possible replacement, Montillo, plays in Brazil with Santos and has made four appearances for the national team.