Argentina’s interim manager Lionel Scaloni has refused to be drawn on Lionel Messi’s long-term international future.
Scaloni has taken temporary charge of La Albiceleste after Jorge Sampaoli was sacked following their disappointing showing at this summer’s World Cup and he will oversee the South Americans when they take on Guatemala and Colombia in friendlies next month.
One man who will not feature in those matches is captain Messi who has been left out of Scaloni’s squad, with reports in Barcelona claiming that the 31-year-old has asked to be excused from the international scene for the rest of the year.
Former Argentina defender Scaloni has confirmed he held discussions with Messi before omitting him from his squad, but insists the five-time Ballon d’Or winner still has a future with the national team.
“I’ve spoken with Messi and from that conversation I picked my squad,” he said.
“We didn’t speak about what could happen in the future. We know what Messi represents for us and we’ll see for the future.”
Messi is expected to concentrate on his club career with Barca over the next few months and he enjoyed a successful start to the new La Liga season, netting a brace in the Blaugrana’s 3-0 victory over Alaves on Saturday.
Barcelona were crowned La Liga champions last season and they are priced at 1.67 to repeat that feat once again this term, while they are available at 7.00 to claim Champions League glory for the first time since 2015.