Lionel Messi is unlikely to play for Argentina at this summer’s Olympics despite an open invitation from under-23 coach Javier Mascherano.
Mascherano’s team qualified for the Summer Games on Sunday with a 1-0 win over reigning gold medalists Brazil, prompting speculation he will ask his former Barcelona team-mate Messi to make an appearance as an over-age player.
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He said: “Everyone already knows my relationship with Leo, the friendship I have.
“A player like him has the doors open to accompany us [at the Olympics], then it will obviously depend on him and his commitments.”
Messi already has one gold medal to his name, winning it in 2008 in Beijing. IOC president Thomas Bach has said previously it would be “fantastic” for the Games if the Inter Miami star made it to Paris.
However, the schedule may scupper Messi’s dream.
The Copa America takes place in the United States from June 20 to July 14 with Argentina looking to defend the title they won in 2021. The Olympics gets underway under a fortnight later on July 26, making it virtually impossible Messi could appear in both.
The MLS season will also be in full swing throughout both events, meaning Messi is already set to miss several games for Miami.