Messi agreed not to play in Olympics: Argentina coach Martino

Madrid, May 3 (IANS) Argentina football team’s head coach Gerardo Martino has said captain Lionel Messi agreed with the decision to leave him out of the Olympics squad as it would have been too much for the star striker to play at both Copa America and Olympics in Rio.

Messi guided Argentina to the gold medal in 2008, but there will be no repeat of that successful campaign come August as he will play at the Copa America in the United States instead.

“I always felt that it would be an exaggeration to have Leo play at the Olympics again, especially if you bear in mind there’s the Copa America first,” Martino was quoted as saying by goal.com on Tuesday.

“It would have been a different matter had there not been a Copa before the Olympics. I discussed it with Leo and he agreed with me. It’s a bit like what has happened to Neymar. It seems like Brazil have made the decision to only take him to the Olympics and not the Copa.”

Martino further added that, “We felt that it was a better option to strengthen the team for the Olympics in defence.”

–IANS

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