Argentina rest Messi for World Cup qualifiers

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Soccer Football - World Cup - South American Qualifiers - Argentina v Brazil - Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario, San Juan, Argentina - November 16, 2021 Argentina's Lionel Messi REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

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SAO PAULO, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Argentina have left Lionel Messi out of their squad for World Cup qualifiers against Chile and Colombia as the Paris St Germain forward continues his recovery from COVID-19 infection.

The twice World Cup winners and current Copa America champions have qualified for the finals in Qatar and sit second in the 10-team South American group.

The 34-year-old Messi was omitted from Argentina’s 27-man squad after not playing for PSG since Dec. 22 against FC Lorient in French Ligue 1.

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Messi spent the festive period in Argentina before testing positive for COVID-19 and trained separately from his team mates on his return to Paris.

PSG face Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League with the first leg on Feb. 15.

Argentina are away to Chile on Jan. 27 and host Colombia on Feb. 1.

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Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Ed Osmond

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