Argentina have welcomed back record goalscorer Lionel Messi into the fold ahead of next month’s friendlies with Brazil and Uruguay.
Messi hasn’t featured at all for Argentina since their third-place playoff win over Chile during the summer’s Copa America in Brazil. Of course, few will forget what went down during that match.
The Barcelona star got involved in a bust-up with Chile captain Gary Medal in Sao Paulo after the ball had gone behind for a goal-kick. In fact, things got quite ugly between the pair before the referee dismissed them.
But a furious Messi made things worse for himself afterwards by failing to show-up for Argentina’s medal presentation afterwards.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner then left reporters stunned by openly accusing the South American football governing body, CONMEBOL, of corruption. Apparently, the entire Copa America was set-up for hosts Brazil to win.
These controversial comments earned him a three-match ban from international duty. Therefore, he’s missed Argentina’s last three friendlies against Chile, Mexico and Germany.
But the Argentine Football Association (AFA) has confirmed Messi is back in Lionel Scaloni’s squad for next month.
The skipper’s return is a welcome boost ahead of some challenging fixtures with rivals Brazil in Saudi Arabia on November 15 and Uruguay four days later in Tel Aviv. It will be the last international break before the South American World Cup qualifiers begin in March.
Messi has managed a record 68 goals and 44 assists in 136 appearances for Argentina at international level. However, he’s still yet to win any silverware with La Albiceleste after some close calls.
And, at 32 years of age, time is beginning to run out for him to set things right. He’s best chance probably lies with next summer’s Copa America in Colombia.
Although a spot in Argentina’s 2022 World Cup squad in Qatar can’t be ruled out either.