World’s best player, Lionel Messi will not be part of the team that will represent Argentina in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics which comes up in six months because his national team manager, Gerardo Martino, says he needs some rest.
Martino spoke Monday on Argentina radio station La Red saying, “Messi will not go to the Olympic Games.” However, he said the Barcelona star would play in the Centennial Copa America tournament which begins June 3 and is to be held in the United states. The Olympics starts two months later on Aug. 5.
In his words:
“Messi will not go to the Olympic Games, it is too much for the Barcelona star to play in both events and also World Cup qualifiers.”
“We have the Copa America, the Olympic Games, and World Cup qualifiers in September, October and November,” Martino lamented on Barcelona’s heavy schedule in various tournaments, adding to the wear-and-tear on the Argentine.
Martino said he would make up a team full of players that would represent the future of Argentina’s national soccer team.
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Messi, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, is 28 and could have been picked to the Olympic team as one of three over-23 age players. He led Argentina to the gold medal in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics. The Olympic regulations allow countries to include three players over 23-years-old in their teams.
With these two major soccer tournaments happening this summer, it’s possible that some of the world’s biggest names could miss out on either the 2016 Copa America Centenario or the Olympic Games.
It’s expected that most players will have to choose between the Olympics or the Copa America instead of playing both if their nation chooses to bring them as one of their three overage players. Usually clubs and national teams come to an understanding that it’s unrealistic for a player to compete in both in such a short time frame.
While Messi’s situation has been clarified, his Barcelona teammate Neymar’s choice is yet to be revealed. With his country Brazil hosting the Olympics, pressure could be added on him to compete in that tournament which could rule him out for the Copa America.
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