Lionel Messi’s international future is very much in doubt after the 31-year-old indicated a lack of desire to appear in Argentina’s first set of post-2018 World Cup fixtures in September.
Interim head coach Lionel Scaloni was asked about Messi’s omission from his 29-man squad set to take on Guatemala and Colombia, and revealed that he has spoken with the Barcelona superstar and could confirm that Messi would likely take the rest of the 2018 calendar year off from international camps and competition (Argentina will play one more friendly in October and two in November) — quotes from the Guardian:
“I spoke to him and after that talk, he has not been called up for these games. Honestly, we have not spoken about what will happen in the future.
“We all know what he represents for us and we shall see what happens. I have a good relationship with him, it was a good chat that we had and we were very clear. He will not be in this call-up and in the future, we shall see.”
“No player told me he did not want to come to the Argentina national team. All the decisions we have taken are for the good of the national team and to try to see what we can bring to the future. We have very clear in our minds that we need to add people to this new adventure. I spoke to the majority of the players and they all gave me their availability. We feel that we need these players right now. I feel it’s the time for renovation. I’m convinced that the time to call up these players is now.”
The only thing still missing to cement Messi’s legacy as the undisputed greatest player of all time is a major-tournament trophy. After leading Argentina to the final of three straight major tournaments from 2014-2016, Messi and Co., massively underwhelmed at this summer’s World Cup in Russia before bombing out in the round of 16 at the hands of the eventual champions, France.