Argentina coach Gerardo Martino has stressed Lionel Messi agreed with the decision to leave him out of the squad for the Olympics as it would have been too much for the Barcelona star to play at both the Copa America and the Games in Rio.
Messi guided Argentina to the gold medal in 2008, but there will be no repeat of that successful campaign come August as he will play at the Copa in the United States instead.
“I always felt that it would be an exaggeration to have Leo play at the Olympics again, especially if you bear in mind there’s the Copa America first,” Martino told reporters.
“It would have been a different matter had there not been a Copa before the Olympics. I discussed it with Leo and he agreed with me.
“It’s a bit like what has happened to Neymar. It seems like Brazil have made the decision to only take him to the Olympics and not the Copa.
“We felt that it was a better option to strengthen the team for the Olympics in defence.”
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