Barcelona star Lionel Messi has insisted that he didn't influence the decision to leave Mauro Icardi out of the Argentina national team.
The Inter captain has been in scintillating form this season, scoring 11 goals in just 12 Serie A appearances. However, Icardi still wasn't selected for the national team and it has been suggested that Messi had a part to play.
"It was said that I didn’t want Icardi coming to the national team, but I’ve never decided if a player comes or not," Messi told Olé (via Football Italia). "Now it’s coming out that all that was said was a lie. I never said I didn’t want Icardi in the national team, nor did I make anyone leave other players out.
"Telling great players that they’re only playing because they’re Messi’s friend is disrespectful, and it’s also a total lie because I don’t run the national team."
It was suggested that Messi had a part to play due to his friendship with former Barcelona striker Maxi López.
Icardi is considered one of the most hated players in football because of his personal history with his compatriot, the Inter striker now married to López's ex-wife, 30-year-old Argentine media personality Wanda Nara.