Home Sports Lionel Messi return hands Argentina boost with the star of the Barcelona...

Lionel Messi return hands Argentina boost with the star of the Barcelona set against Venezuela

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni is excited to have Lionel Messi back with the national team and confirmed that Barcelona striker will start Friday's friendly against Venezuela in Madrid.

Messi took a break from international service after the World Cup last summer, in which Argentina has been eliminated by possible winners of France in the last 16.

But the 31-year-old returned to the squad for friendlies against Venezuela and Morocco while the Albiceleste continue preparations for the Copa America, which takes place in June and July.

"The return of Messi is a joy," said Scaloni at a press conference at the Wanda Metropolitano on Thursday.

"Despite my young age, I have the opportunity to train him. I have to try to convince the team to accompany him and get the best out of him."

The Argentine team in training before the match against Venezeula on Fridays Photo: AFP

Argentina beat Guatemala, Iraq and Mexico (twice) from the World Cup, with a goalless draw against Colombia at the time and a 1-0 defeat by Brazil.

"We hope that Messi's return will strengthen the team," said Scaloni.

The team for the matches against Venezuela and Morocco lack some big names, including forwards Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Mauro Icardi, and midfielder Ever Banega, while Scaloni tries several players in front of the Copa.

Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain Angel Di Maria midfielder had to give up due to injury.

"When a player gets injured, it never goes well," said Scaloni. "Not for the coach, nor for the group. I'd like to have watched Angel."

And he added: "We hope that when it comes to giving the list for the Copa America, all the players are available."

Included | Juan Foyth he was named in the Argentine team to face Venezuela Photo: Tottenham Hotspur FC / Getty Images

Tottenham Juan Foyth will start in the third row for the Albiceleste, while Scaloni called XI to face Venezuela, ranked 32nd in the world by FIFA, 21 places below Argentina.

It is unlikely that Messi will remain for 90 minutes on Friday and could return to Barcelona after the match at the Atletico Madrid stadium, instead of going to Morocco for next week's game.

Argentine XI: Franco Armani; Montiel, Mercado, Foyth, Lisandro Martinez, Tagliafico; Lo Celso, Paredes; Messi, Lautaro Martinez, Gonzalo Martinez.


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