Great news for La Albiceleste fans as Argentina coach Gerardo Martino has confirmed that Lionel Messi will play in the Copa America this summer instead of the Olympics,.
Martino said on Argentina radio station La Red that it was “too much” for the Barcelona star to play in both events and also World Cup qualifiers.
“Messi will not go to the Olympic Games,” Martino said on Monday, reiterating comments he made three weeks ago.
“To expose Leo to playing a new competition, after all he has done, seems to me to be too much. We would again be damaging ourselves, considering what is ahead in the second half of the year.”
“We have the Copa America, the Olympic Games, and World Cup qualifiers in September, October and November,” Martino said.
He also mentioned Barcelona’s heavy schedule in various tournaments, adding to the wear-and-tear on the Argentine.
It makes sense for Messi to play in the Copa America instead of the Olympics, as the Copa America Centenario ends on June 26, giving the best player in the world a full month off before having to report for preseason training in Spain.
The Olympics, on the other hand, are from August 5-21, which does not leave any room for a break.
Argentina have been drawn against defending Copa America champions Chile, Panama and Bolivia in the group stages, where both Argentina and Chile should advance to the knockout stages.
Argentina Copa America Schedule
June 6: Argentina vs Chile Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, CA – Buy Tickets
June 10: Argentina vs Panama Soldier Field – Chicago, IL – Buy Tickets
June 14: Argentina vs Bolivia CenturyLink Field – Seattle, WA – Buy Tickets