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Lionel Scaloni: “Messi should play all the minutes he can”

The Argentina manager was confident that Messi has a lot left in his legs, despite being in his mid-30s.

Nuevo contratiempo para Messi y Argentina

Despite the fact that Lionel Messi has been forced off the pitch on multiple occasions over recent months and it is not known whether or not he will make it to the 2026 World Cup with Argentina, the Albiceleste, who recently recorded a massive win against Brazil, are hopeful that the 8-time Ballon d’Or winner will indeed be able to play his part in the showpiece event.

Regarding this very topic, Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni assured that he sees Messi as capable of extending his career and arriving at the 2026 tournament in fine form and physical shape.

Argentina's coach Lionel Scaloni recently dropped a hint that he would not guide the side at the 2024 Copa América.
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Argentina's coach Lionel Scaloni recently dropped a hint that he would not guide the side at the 2024 Copa América.CARL DE SOUZAAFP

‘On the pitch with the ball is where Messi’s happy’

“We say to Messi to play all that he can in the time he has. He has shown that he has no end. You don’t know when he’ll retire. It’s incredible. He’s happy on a football pitch and away from that I think it’s tough to be Leo because he leaves home and is surrounded by people. On the pitch with the ball is where he’s happy”, explained Scaloni in an interview with Christian Vieri through the ex-Italy player’s Twitch channel.

This is how Scaloni encouraged Messi to carry on playing and not stop in the short term after the Inter Miami player had put his Argentina future in doubt after winning the Qatar World Cup 2022, highlighting that he saw the 2026 edition of the tournament as a tough ask.

La deuda pendiente de Messi ante Brasil en eliminatorias mundialistas
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Messi's future after football is not yet clear, but Scaloni insisted that there is time to go just yet.JUAN MABROMATAAFP

Scaloni may continue as Argentina boss, despite comments

“I think he can carry on playing”, said Scaloni, “but the choice is his. He can player where he wants and the team will work for him.”

Doubts have surrounded Scaloni as the head coach of Argentina after his comments earlier in the month and despite the fear he was not going to be present at the Copa América draw, he did in fact make the trip to be there on Thursday as Argentina will find out their fate in the continental tournament, with tentative reports coming out that the World Cup winning manager will indeed lead the side at the competition next summer.