Messi fit to face Uruguay despite layoff - Argentina's Scaloni

Lionel Messi shows off his 8th Ballon d'Or to Inter Miami fans (0:27)

Lionel Messi holds the Ballon d'Or over his head during a pregame ceremony before Inter Miami's friendly against NYCFC. (0:27)

Lionel Messi is ready to feature against Uruguay in Thursday's World Cup qualifier despite having only played "a game in the last 25 days," said Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni.

Messi last played in Inter Miami CF's 2-1 defeat to New York City FC in the Noche d'Or celebration on Nov. 10.

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"Messi is fine, he is doing well," Scaloni said in Thursday's news conference. "Beyond the fact that he played a game in the last 25 days, he has been training normally, he is in good condition and he is fine."

Messi, 36, won a record eighth Ballon d'Or after captaining Argentina to 2022 World Cup glory.

Some questioned whether the Inter Miami star deserved the award ahead of Manchester City's Erling Haaland.

Haaland led City to a Premier League, UEFA Champions League and English FA Cup treble.

"Some do it to debate a little, but I don't think there is a debate," Scaloni said. "I don't understand. If everyone said 'the best, the best' there would be no debate.

"Leo was always the best."

Messi has expressed a desire to continue playing for Argentina.

Both he and Ángel Di María are expected to suit up for the Albiceleste in the 2024 Copa América.

Di María, 35, recently announced he will retire from international football after next summer's event.

"There is still a lot left before the Copa América," Scaloni said. "We like to be nostalgic and think. I don't think about his farewell. The same with Messi's. Let's enjoy Ángel now that we have him."

Di María returns to the squad having missed the last qualifiers through injury while Manchester United winger Alejandro Garnacho has been left out.

"It's a technical decision," Scaloni said. "We don't like to bring in players and constantly leave them out. In the last window, he didn't have minutes. He is a player who is on our radar and has a big future."

Argentina are perfect in World Cup qualifying with four wins in as many games, scoring seven goals and not conceding.

They host Uruguay on Thursday before playing South American rivals at Brazil on Nov. 21.

"This national team has already shown that it can play against any rival," Scaloni said. "Then you can win or not. We will be up to the task, we are ready to compete. We are not thinking about Brazil because first we have a game against Uruguay, which is a tremendously difficult opponent."

Scaloni, meanwhile, shared some thoughts on former teammate Alejandro "Papu" Gómez, who was recently handed a two-year ban for doping.

Gómez, 35, tested positive last October while playing for Sevilla, shortly before joining the Argentina squad that went on to win the World Cup.

"I spoke with Papu, I have a great relationship with him," Scaloni said. "We were teammates at Atalanta. I think he is going to appeal and hope that the ban is reduced. He has given us a lot and we are grateful."