Lionel Messi, the undisputed best player in the world, is unlikely to appear as one of three overage players for his native Argentina this summer in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, according to Argentina manager Gerardo Martino.
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In an interview published Wednesday, Martino indicated a final decision regarding Messi’s possible selection to the under-23 Argentine national team (plus three players over the age of 23) is yet to be made, but given that this summer’s games come barely a month after the 2016 Copa America Centenario (June 3-25), for which Messi will surely be chosen and heavily leaned upon, July and the first few days of August will be the 28-year-old’s (he’ll be 29 by summer’s end) only chance to rest ahead of the 2016-17 club season.
There’s also the face that Argentina are Argentina, which means they’re not exactly hurting for attacking options, even if that option is arguably the greatest player of all time — from our friends over at Olympic Talk:
Martino said a decision on Messi and the Olympics hasn’t been made, but he doesn’t see Messi’s inclusion feasible at least in part because the under-23 national team is stacked with attackers.
Messi is already an Olympic gold medalist, as a member of the 2008 (Beijing Olympics) U-23 team (he was 21 at the time – pictured above with Sergio Aguero).