Published: Fri, March 22, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Messi Returns To Argentina Starting XI

Messi Returns To Argentina Starting XI

The matches mark a return to worldwide football for Lionel Messi, who has also been absent from Argentina's squad since the World Cup.

Messi has returned to the Argentina national team set up for the first time since he participated at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation.

The coach said he expects more from Messi's teammates than from the star player himself.

That loss marked the end for Scaloni's predecessor Jorge Sampaoli as well as former captain Javier Mascherano, who retired from worldwide football at the final whistle. I see him very exhausted.

He said: "It is a joy that Messi returns". "He trains like the rest of us and for us it's an honour to have him back in the national team". Hopefully with the return of Messi the team will be strengthened.

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Lionel Scaloni is expected to pick this starting line-up: Franco Armani, Renzo Saravia, German Pezzella, Gabriel Mercado, Walter Kannemann, Nicolas Tagliafico, Roberto Pereyra, Giovani Lo Celso, Leandro Paredes, Pity Martinez, Leo Messi and Lauturo Martinez.

"We want them to realise that they are great players and that they need to step up so Argentina can return to the level that it once had in the past".

Mauro Icardi has been included on several occasions by Scaloni, but was omitted from this squad - the final call-up prior to the Copa America - due to his dispute with Inter.

The FC Barcelona star has been called up for for global friendly matches against Venezuela and Morocco, but Cesar Luis Menotti, who led Argentina to the 1978 FIFA World Cup title, believes Messi should be rested for these friendlies to keep him fresh for the summer.

The Albiceleste will face Colombia, Paraguay and Qatar in Group B of the Copa America, which is hosted by Brazil.

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