Otamendi, Mercado, Biglia return to training

Moscow, June 24: Argente defenders Nicolas Otamendi and Gabriel Mercado and midfielder Lucas Biglia rejoined their national team’s group training on Sunday while the team celebrated the 31st birthday of captain Lionel Messi under the shadow of a difficult 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Messi received congratulations from Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli, his teammates and his wife Antonella Roccuzzo, reports Efe.

A birthday celebration with concerts is to be organized for the superstar forward in the Russian town of Bronnitsy, about 60 km outside Moscow, where the Argentine side’s camp is located.

Otamendi and Mercado, who started in Thursday’s 3-0 loss to Croatia, had been absent from Saturday’s training session after picking up ankle injuries during the match while Biglia, who was a substitute, had suffered knee discomfort in Friday’s training.

Sunday’s training was also attended by the President of the Argentine soccer association, Claudio Tapia.

Goalkeepers Willy Caballero, Nahuel Guzman and Franco Armani did specific exercises during the 15 minutes open to the media, while the remaining 20 players completed warm-ups and were divided into five-player groups to do one-touch passes and drills. IANS