Barcelona are likely to be without Lionel Messi for the star of next season after Argentina manager Luca Scaloni confirmed the five time ballon d’Or winner will be part of the Argentina team that will take part in the Copa America holding in Brazil this June.
Messi 31 made his long awaited return to international football in Argentina’s 3-1 loss to Venezuela last Friday. The Barcelona number 10 has not played for the La Albiceleste since they went out to France at the 2018 world cup in Russia.
However, he made his return to the team in the loss to their South American rivals but he returned to Barcelona following the match. He will miss Argentina’s friendly against Morocco on Tuesday which has prompted speculations if he will be available for selection as the two time world champions attempt to end their long wait for a major trophy when the Copa America kick off in Brazil on June 14.
However, Argentina manager Luca Scaloni has now confirmed the country’s superstar will be available as he attempts to land one trophy missing from his amazing collections.
“Leo will be in Copa America. It is evident he will be. He showed maximum will here, and we see he is very driven. When the match against Venezuela finished, we talked about the match, not about what is to come. We will work to get a better team.
“Too much dependence on Messi? We have to work for that not to happen, for every player not to be always drawn to Leo, he will help us win matches, that’s for sure.“
Messi’s involvement means he could miss Barcelona’s start to the season depending how far the La Albiceleste go in the competition.
Messi, 31, has suffered disappointment in three previous editions of the Copa America when Argentina lost in the finals of the 2007, 2015 and 2016 tournaments. He also came up short of achieving international glory at the 2014 FIFA World Cup when his side lost in the final to Germany.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has achieved just about everything in his glittering career, winning 32 major honours with Barcelona. However, a major international trophy has eluded him thus far—with his only title being a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics.
This summer’s Copa America could be his last chance to change that, although there is another edition of the South American tournament in Colombia in 2020. Messi briefly called time on his international career after losing in the 2016 Copa America final to Chile, Argentina’s third major final defeat in as many years.
He returned on that occasion to help his country qualify for the 2018 World Cup. But if Argentina fail to go all the way in Brazil, Messi’s time on the international stage may be up. The 2019 Copa America kicks off on June 14, and Argentina are in Group B with Colombia, Paraguay and Qatar.