Argentina's national team director Cesar Luis Menotti has revealed his concerns over Lionel Messi's fitness in both an emotional and physical sense, ahead of the team's upcoming clashes against Venezuela and Morocco.
Messi has been non-stop for Barcelona this season, as the club remain on course for their seventh La Liga title of this decade, with a quarter-final against Manchester United in the Champions League on the calendar, as well as the Copa del Rey final against Valencia.
In light of this, Menotti is worried about overstretching the 31-year-old, and cautioned against playing him in Friday's clash with their South American rivals.
Speaking to Radio Gol, as quoted by Mundo Albiceleste, Menotti said: “It scares me that Messi plays. I see him emotionally fatigued between the Champions League and the national team. I see him very tired. He has a lot of obligations and with a lot of emotional baggage, a lot of responsibilities at his feet.”
Speaking on the fate of another Lionel, Scaloni, the team's recently appointed manager, Menotti could offer no clarity as to whether 40-year-old would receive a contract extension beyond June this year.
He explained: “I’m not the one who signed Scaloni. I have an excellent relationship with him, he’s someone who’s very anxious, but I didn’t bring him in. He’s evolving and he knows it. We have been very up front with him and I’m here to help.
“He signed a contract and when the Copa America is over, a decision will be made.”
And, in regards to his squad selection, which included the snub of Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, the World Cup winner explained: “The responsibility to decides who gets selected is that of the coach, I have the responsibility of debating, teaching and learning. When he showed me the list, I told him it looks good.
"Aguero now is doing brilliantly but five months ago he was on the bench.”