Lionel Messi has returned to the Argentina squad for the first time since the World Cup in the 3-1 defeat against Venezuela in Madrid.
His return, however, didn’t go as planned. Argentina lost the friendly game to Venezuela, while Messi withdrew from the squad following the game, with a groin injury.
He will take no part in Argentina’s friendly against Morocco on Tuesday ‘as a precaution’, which means that the injury is not serious one after all.
Let’s not forget that Barcelona is in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and their first leg against Manchester United is scheduled on 10 April at Old Trafford.
Losing Messi would be a big blow to the Catalan giants, as the Argentine is by far their best player this season.
However, the precautionary nature of his withdrawal from the national team means that Leo should be ready for Barca’s trip to Old Trafford.
⏱ TERMINÉ !
ARGENTINE 🇦🇷 1-3 🇻🇪 VENEZUELA
Malgré le retour en sélection de Lionel Messi, l'Argentine est battue par le Venezuela. pic.twitter.com/hYk3WhQ5YuAfter the scene he causes after the Copa America match vs Chile, Lionel Messi only received a single match ban by Conmebol. Everybody was expecting...
— Actu Foot (@ActuFoot_) March 22, 2019
Argentina’s manager Luis Scaloni said that Messi was the man who created all the chances for Argentina in their defeat to Venezuela last night.
“All the chances we created were due to the confusion he caused. During the second half, we saw more teamwork from him.
“Losing hurts, obviously, but this game has been very useful to see how players work with him as a group, how the others did, if the players that were expected to take a step forward did so.
“We weren’t satisfied because of the result, but we drew conclusions, there are players who can do beautiful things with him,” Scaloni said according to Sky Sports.
Venezuela had only beaten Argentina once in 23 previous encounters, but they got the perfect start after five minutes when Rondon brought down a long pass inside the box and crashed a shot past keeper Franco Armani.
Murillo made it 2-0 just before the break, while Joseph Martinez converted a spot-kick to score the third goal for Venezuela at the night.
Lautaro Martinez netted the only goal for Argentina – his first in the national team jersey.