Messi returns to Argentina’s national team for friendlies
The five-time world player of the year was called up by interim Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni on Thursday for a pair of friendly matches ahead of this year’s Copa America in Brazil.
The 31-year-old Messi last played for his national team eight months ago at the World Cup in Russia. Argentina lost to eventual champion France 4-3 in the last 16.
Argentina has played six matches since then, all without Messi.
“I believe he is happy and wants to try once more. He is welcome,” Scaloni said. “The World Cup was tough for all, even more so for him.”
Argentina has not lifted a single trophy since the 1993 Copa America. It lost to Chile in the last two finals of the tournament, in 2015 and in the centennial edition of 2016, and was defeated by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil.
But Scaloni hopes that record will not weigh on Messi at this stage of his career.
“We have the best in the world, but because of one thing or another we did not (win a title with him). We have also reached three finals with him,” Scaloni said.