Lionel Scaloni has stated that playing in the Major League Soccer (MLS) has not diminished Lionel Messi’s chances of representing Argentina in the 2024 Copa America.
After leaving Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the 2022-23 season, Messi joined MLS outfit Inter Miami CF, turning down a return to Barcelona and advances from Saudi Arabia.
There has been speculation about Messi’s future with Argentina following his move to Miami. However, national team manager Lionel Scaloni has stated that the seven-time Ballon d’Or champion will continue to lead La Albiceleste at the upcoming Copa America.
“I think Messi will play in the next Copa América. I will not be the one to say no to him. The fact of playing in the US doesn’t make him less competitive, he carries the competitive gene inside. Messi will play good football until he wants to,” he said. (via Twitter/AlbicelesteTalk)
Scaloni has always maintained that Messi will remain a part of his plans until he announces his retirement.
“Messi will continue to come [represent Argentina] until he says otherwise. I see him happy on the pitch and within the selection. Leo’s looking good to me,” he said at a press conference earlier this year.
Messi and Co. are the defending Copa America champions, having won the title under Lionel Scaloni’s tutelage in 2021.
Next year’s tournament will see the best teams in South America joined by six teams from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. The United States of America will host the showpiece event from June 20 to July 14.
« I won’t go to the next World Cup » – Lionel Messi rules out his 2026 FIFA World Cup participation
Lionel Messi led Argentina to the 2022 FIFA World Cup title in Qatar, following which he hinted at the possibility of not competing in the quadrennial event again. However, in February this year, Messi opened the door for his participation in Argentina’s World Cup title defense in 2026.
The 36-year-old told Argentine newspaper Ole:
« I love playing soccer, I love what I do and while I am feeling well and feel I am fit and continue to enjoy it, I will do it. But it seems to be too much until the next World Cup. I have to see where my career goes, what I will do. It depends on many things. »
Messi recently backtracked his statements and hinted at not taking part in the 2026 showpiece event. Ahead of Argentina’s friendly against Australia in Beijing, he told Titan Sports:
« I think not. This was my last World Cup. I’ll see how things go but in principle, I won’t go to the next World Cup. »
Messi has represented Argentina 175 times to date, scoring 103 goals and picking up 56 assists.