Argentine Captain Lionel Messi is set to miss his country’s next four friendly matches with his future in the national team now in doubt.
According to the local press reports, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will not be in action when Argentina takes on Guatemala in Los Angeles on September 7 and Colombia in New York four days later.
Similarly, Messi will also be absent later in the year when the two-time world champions are scheduled to play two other friendly matches against yet-to-be named opponents.
Argentinian Daily Clarin that broke the story said; “Messi will not return this year and there are doubts about his future”.
The News website Infobae also said: “He will take a rest period, but that doesn’t mean he’s quitting.”
Confirming the current position of things in the national side, a team spokesman told AFP; “It is the coach who will say, when the time comes, what the situation is concerning Messi.”
With the exit of Jorge Sampaoli after their disastrous World Cup tournament in Russia, where they lost 3-4 to France in the last 16 round, Lionel Scaloni has been in temporary charge of the team that also suffered an embarrassing 3-0 humiliation in the hands of Croatia during the group-stage of the Russia 2018 tournament.
Scaloni is expected to name his first squad for the United States’ visit later this week.
Dousing speculations about Messi’s future with the national team, former international Carlos Tevez, who is in Barcelona for Boca Juniors’ friendly on Wednesday at the Camp Nou, said; “It’s very personal, Leo must take his time to think about it.”
“It’s understandable… even if he doesn’t come back. When the international side play, rightly or wrongly, we criticise him. It’s bad for the team and for him… I understand because I’ve been in that situation.”
Meanwhile, Messi’s possible opportunity to win his first major international title will be the 2019 Copa America that will be hosted by Brazil
He had previously retired from the Argentina’s national side after their 2016 Copa America final defeat by Chile before returning to help them qualify for the recently-concluded 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Messi, who is 31, started his international career in 2005 and has made 128 appearances for the Albiceleste. He is currently the country’s all-time top goal scorer with 65 goals – With agency reports