Messi back in Argentina starting XI after nine-month absence, Scaloni confirms

Messi back in Argentina starting XI after nine-month absence, Scaloni confirms

Argentina's Lionel Messi returned to global duty for the first time since the World Cup on Friday but it was a disappointing night for the forward as his side lost 3-1 to Venezuela in a friendly in Madrid.

"I'm afraid that Messi plays", he told FM 94.7.

"Ronaldo's an extraordinary footballer, but Messi is a genius", he said. "We need to keep improving".

"They have players at a very high level, like Leo Messi, who is a genius and the best in the world".

Obviously, the five-time Ballon d'Or victor has played his fair share of teams around the world, from competing in World Cups to Champions Leagues.

"The decision of the coaching staff had been that Leo (Messi) did not come in the first matches, now he returns and he will be welcome", said Scaloni. "He hasn't been with a lot of these players here".

Credit nss magazine
Credit nss magazine

Speaking to Sky Sports Italia, Capello weighed in on Cristiano Ronaldo's tremendous hattrick against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League that allowed Juventus to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit, but refused to put him in the same cader as Lionel Messi.

"For us to take on Argentina is a good way to see how we stack up".

The Barcelona star has not played for Argentina since last year's World Cup last-16 elimination to France. The team's loss was to Brazil, and it followed it up with consecutive victories over Mexico.

Messi is Argentina's all-time leading scorer with 65 goals but is yet to win anything with his national team.

Venezuela on Monday will plays a Catalunya team that is expected to include former Spain players Gerard Pique and Xavi Hernandez.

Oh, and it's worth remembering that the map doesn't include his performances in friendly matches.

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