Argentina interim coach opens up on Lionel Messi absence after local media claims of retirement
Posted: 23 August 2018 Time: 17:00
FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi's international future has been thrown into major doubt after the latest Argentina national team squad was announced.
Lionel Scaloni, the man trusted in a caretaker capacity since the sacking of head coach Jorge Sampaoli admits he doesn't know if Lionel Messi will return to play for the national team again.
Messi, who captained Argentina during their underwhelming Russia 2018 World Cup campaign reportedly issued an indefinite break from the Albiceleste.
Amidst the rumours, the Blaugrana captain has been overlooked for the international friendlies against Guatemala in Los Angeles on September 7 and Colombia in New Jersey four days later.
Reports surfacing in Argentina media claimed the five-time Ballon d'Or winner had asked to be excused from selection for the remainder of the year - which Scaloni remained mum about.
"I spoke to him and after that talk, he has not been called up for these games," Scaloni said, as quoted by ESPN. "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," Scaloni added in reference to the omissions of Nicolas Otamendi, Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero.
"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."