Lionel Messi Back For Argentina After Eight Month Absence

Lionel Messi Back For Argentina After Eight Month Absence

Argentina captain Lionel Messi is back in the national squad for the first time since last year's World Cup in Russian Federation, and will play in at least one of their friendlies against Venezuela and Morocco this month, coach Lionel Scaloni said on Thursday.

His absence from Argentina's six fixtures since the World Cup had led to speculation a second retirement may be imminent, but it appears the 31-year-old will now play for his country until at least this summer's tournament in Brazil.

This is because he will go back to Catalonia to recuperate ahead of Barcelona's final stretch of the season in LaLiga Santander and, assuming they advance past Lyon, the Champions League, in addition to the Copa del Rey final against Valencia on 25 May.

However, head coach Lionel Scaloni often voiced his optimism surrounding the FC Barcelona forward returning to the fold.

Mauro Icardi
Mauro Icardi

"Leo has been selected, we'll decide later if he plays one game or two", Scaloni told reporters in Buenos Aires.

"He is playing a lot of games and physically all the players that come at this stage of the season are exhausted and would rather rest in the global window".

Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel Di Maria was also recalled to the squad for the first time since the 2018 World Cup, while Domingo Blanco and Lisandro Martinez are among the new names in the squad, as are Club America midfielder Guido Rodriguez and Boca Juniors midfielder Ivan Marcone.

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