Lionel Messi sits out for Argentina vs. Italy; Sergio Aguero leaves squad

Brenda Watkins
March 25, 2018

Lionel Messi said on Friday that he is "optimistic" about being fit for Argentina's global friendly against Spain in Madrid next week.

Argentina are World Cup champions. The keeper will definitely be hoping Messi is not in this kind of form! Text the word "SPORTS" to 22840 and receive local and global sports news as it happens.

He attracted interest from the world's biggest clubs, confirming Barcelona's rivals Real Madrid also made contact.

A lone Olympic Games (2008) gold medal hangs in his bare trophy cabinet and with the 2018 FIFA World Cup less than 90 days away, Messi knows it's now or never.

"He doesn't have to demonstrate anything".

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Gianluigi Buffon was quizzed on who he felt was the better player out of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The South Americans therefore have only two titles (1978 and 1986) from a possible of five. He has previously spoken about how much he would like to lift the trophy.

Rubbing salt into those wounds, Messi has lost in three successive major finals with Argentina as the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 and 2016 Copa America titles slipped from his grasp.

Elsewhere, Argentina were without the brilliance of one Lionel Messi as they went head to head with Italy at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium, while Didier Deschamps resumed his tough task of deciding which of France's embarrassment of riches will make the cut for Russian Federation as Les Bleus faced off with Colombia. "It was a hard blow to take", said Messi, while speaking to Argentine television, known as La Cornisa. The match is their first since losing to Sweden 1-0 on aggregate to miss their first World Cup finals in 60 years.

Head coach Jorge Sampaoli added in his post-game media conference: "We had planned the game with Leo Messi in the starting line-up, but he had an injury and we preferred him not to take part".

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