Argentina manager: Messi will play in Copa America in U.S., not Olympics
Lionel Messi will play in Copa America Centenario but will not be available for selection for this summer's Olympics in Rio, Argentina manager Gerardo Martino told reporters on Monday.
Martino cited the fact that there are various competitions during the year, such as the Copa America and World Cup qualifiers, and that Messi will be coming off another packed season with Barcelona.
Messi, 28, would have been able to play in the Olympics as an over-age player, with nations able to take three players over 23 onto their 18-man rosters. Messi helped Argentina win Olympic gold in 2008 in Beijing. He also helped Argentina reach the World Cup final in 2014 at the Maracaña in Rio, the site of this summer's Olympic final.
According to Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte, Martino singled out Boca Juniors's Carlos Tevez (over-age), Juventus's Paulo Dybala, Atletico Madrid's Luciano Vietto, Sao Paulo's Jonathan Calleri as attacking talents that could lead Argentina at the Olympics.
At Copa America Centenario in the United States, Argentina will be one of the favorites. The Albiceleste are one of the four top-seeded teams along with the USA, Mexico and Brazil for the draw, which will be held Feb. 21 in New York City.