Chelsea midfielder Moises Caicedo faced off against the legendary Lionel Messi in a South American World Cup qualifier in Buenos Aires on Friday, September 8, 2023.
The match took place at the Estadio Monumental with Messi ultimately leading his team to a 1-0 victory, sailing to the summit of their 10-man group as Ecuador were condemned to the bottom.
During a previous encounter between Caicedo and Messi, the Argentine superstar displayed his signature dribbling skills, leaving the midfielder sitting on the ground.
On Friday morning, however, the new Chelsea man appeared to seek redemption, executing a robust challenge on Messi that sent the striker tumbling.
Despite Messi’s clear dissatisfaction with the foul, the 21-year-old Ecuador international managed to avoid receiving a booking.
While Caicedo may have gained a sense of satisfaction from his challenge on Messi, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner had the last laugh.
In the 78th minute, Messi delivered a stunning free-kick, which proved to be the decisive goal that secured Argentina’s victory.
This win marked an auspicious start for Lionel Scaloni’s team as they aim to qualify for the 2026 World Cup and defend their title in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
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During the match, Caicedo had the opportunity to face his Chelsea midfield partner Enzo Fernandez who is part of the Argentina national team.
The duo maintained their connection over the international break, and Fernandez even convinced Caicedo to swap shirts after the game, a gesture that highlighted their camaraderie.
“Moises is a great person. He has now arrived at Chelsea, and we have discussed various topics, although not specifically about the game [between Argentina and Ecuador],” Fernandez commented when asked about his club teammate.
Overall, the match showcased both Caicedo’s determination to challenge Messi and Messi’s ability to secure victory for his team.
Despite the physicality of the encounter, the players managed to maintain professionalism on the field, providing an intense yet respectful contest.