Messi to start on bench against Panama

Lionel Messi was an unused substitute against Chile and he is on the bench once more as he returns to fitness after a back injury.

Captain Lionel Messi will start on the bench again after being named among the substitutes for Argentina's Copa America Centenario clash against Panama on Friday.

Argentina coach Gerardo Martino confirmed Messi would return for the Group D fixture in Chicago, after the five-time Ballon d'Or winner was an unused substitute in the country's opening 2-1 victory over defending champions Chile on Monday due to a niggling back injury.

However, Messi will return from the bench at Soldier Field as he works his way back to full fitness, with Martino opting to name an unchanged starting XI.

Argentina are seeking to win a record-equalling 15th Copa America title at the centenary tournament in the United States.