Lionel Messi has been named in the Argentina squad for the first time since last year’s World Cup in Russia and will play in at least one of their friendlies against Venezuela and Morocco this month, Trend reports citing The Guardian.
The Barcelona forward opted to take a sabbatical after his country’s last-16 exit to eventual champions France during the recent finals. However, Lionel Scaloni, Argentina’s head coach, said in January that he had a “good feeling” about Messi’s return from his self-imposed exile and has subsequently included him along with 30 other players.
“Leo has been selected, we’ll decide later if he plays one game or two,” Scaloni said. “I will make that decision.”
Messi is Argentina’s leading goal-scorer with 65 goals but he is often criticised for not reproducing his club form for the national side. He joins a squad featuring four goalkeepers, 10 home-based players but no Sergio Agüero, Gonzalo Higuaín or Mauro Icardi.
West Ham midfielder Manuel Lanzini also returns to the squad for the first time after suffering a knee injury days before the World Cup.