Lionel Messi will not play for Argentina this season 4 years ago

Lionel Messi will not play for Argentina this season

He could do with a break from international football

Lionel Messi will not play for Argentina this season, focussing solely on retaining the La Liga title with Barcelona, who recently appointed him as club captain after the departure of Andrés Iniesta.

Advertisement

Messi has captained Argentina since 2011 and helped them reach three major finals, all of which they lost. The weight of a nation rested on Messi's shoulders this summer when Argentina went into the World Cup in Russia hoping to make up for the heartbreak of losing the 2014 final.

Their tournament panned out as many had predicted; crashing out in the second round, relying too much on Messi's magic and being let down by a substandard defence. It was yet another heartbreak for Messi on the international stage, and he has opted to sit out of international duty for this 2018/19 season until the Copa America comes round next summer.

He has not retired from international football, but will not be called upon for upcoming international friendlies.

Advertisement

Next summer's Copa America will feature the standard COMNEBOL nations as well as Japan and Qatar, who have been invited to take part in the tournament. Qatar will be the first Arab team to take part in the competition, while Japan will be making their second appearance in the Copa America after making their debut in 1999.

It will be held by Brazil and Chile will be the defending champions, after they beat Argentina in both 2015 and 2016 finals.

The 2019 tournament will be the final tournament to be played on an odd year, as a five year gap will be implemented before the next instalment of the competition. From 2024 onwards, the Copa America will fall on the same year as the European Championships, exactly halfway between the previous and following World Cups.

Messi has earned a rest from the stresses of international football, having sacrificed himself for the Argentine cause over the years. And with the playmaker now the wrong side of 30, it makes sense to allow him a rest during the non-competitive international breaks.

Advertisement