SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Imagine buying tickets to see Beyoncé in concert, only to find out she had contracted laryngitis.
Some fans may have felt the same disappointment Monday night at Levi’s Stadium, where Lionel Messi, whom many consider the best soccer player in the world, was not included in the starting 11 for Argentina in its Copa América match against Chile.
Messi, 28, has been battling a sore back since taking a hard blow in a game on May 27 — he was listed among Argentina’s bench players Monday as the game got underway — and his slow recovery has cast an unfortunate shadow on the tournament.
The game on Monday — a rematch of last year’s Copa America final, which Chile won — was an entertaining one for the announced crowd of 69,451. Controlling play for the most part, Argentina won, 2-1, scoring two second-half goals in quick succession before Chile notched one in stoppage time. But without Messi, it was not…