Football

Paris Olympics: Lionel Messi Opts Out Of Argentina Squad, Citing Post-Copa America Fatigue

Messi has opted not to be a part of Argentina squad in Paris this time. Prior to the marquee event, he has an unfinished business, one that demands his undivided attention and energy -- the title defence at Copa America in the United States

(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)
FILE - Argentina's Lionel Messi goes for the ball during the World Cup final soccer match between Argentina and France at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. Messi is undoubtedly the face of this year's Copa America. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)
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Argentina are gearing up to clinch a third gold in Olympics as they head for the 2024 Paris Games, set to kick off on July 24. However, this time, the two-time gold medalist team will play without the star that once illuminated their journey - Lionel Messi. (More Football News)

Messi has opted not to be a part of Argentina squad in Paris this time. Prior to the marquee event, he has an unfinished business, one that demands his undivided attention and energy -- the title defence at Copa America in the United States.

On June 20, Argentina will take on Canada at the Copa America and the Inter Miami hero, Messi, remians focused in representing his nation there. He will have to skip more than fives Inter games due to the nation's call. And if he heads to Paris, Inter Miami will be sans Messi at the Leagues Cup as well, where they won the title last year.

Speaking to ESPN Argentina, the 36-year-old, now feeling the weight of years, said, " I talked to Mascherano and the truth is we both understood the situation. It's hard (to take part in the Olympics next month) because we're in Copa América. It would be two, three straight months of not being with the club, and more than anything I'm not at an age to be in everything."

The Olympic tournament is basically an under-23 football event, but three overage players are allowed to take part in each team.

After playing the Copa America which will conclude on July 14, participation in yet another tournament—the Olympics—poses a formidable challenge for Messi. He said, "I have to choose carefully, and it would be too much to play two straight tournaments. I've been very lucky to play in the Olympics, of winning it together with Masche. It was a wonderful experience on a football level. Olympics, U20, memories I'll never forget."

Nevertheless, Messi, like many others, believe that Olympics is different, its speacial. "It's spectacular to be fortunate enough to go through all that. I hope that the guys who get to go enjoy it in the same way that I did because it's special. The Olympics are special, different from anything else" he said.

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