Lionel Messi has not been ruled out of Argentina’s friendly against Mexico in Texas in September, according to coach Gerardo Martino.
After Messi led Argentina to the Copa America final in Chile in June, the Barcelona star indicated he wanted a short break from international duty after being criticised for failing to end his nation’s major trophy drought, which extends back to 1993.
But Martino said he was not aware the 28-year-old is unavailable, ahead of him finalising his squad for the September 8 clash at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
“Messi is not absent from the friendly match,” Martino told Liberman Broadcasting, via Mexican daily newspaper Record.
“The evidence will be next week, when I will give the list.”
Martino also defended his captain, claiming Messi was a victim of his own supreme ability – much like Diego Maradona.
“I should not give my opinion on this. No analysis resists a debate against Messi,” he added.
“His best performance with Argentina was by far in the last Copa America.
“The same thing happened to Maradona before the World Cup in 1986.
“As an Argentinian, it would be a total disappointment if Messi wouldn’t ever play again in the national team.”