The Dilemma of Lionel Messi and Argentina’s Olympic Participation

Argentina’s under-23 coach, Javier Mascherano, recently disclosed that he had a conversation with Lionel Messi regarding the possibility of Messi participating in the Paris Olympics this summer. However, Mascherano acknowledged that the situation is complex due to the obligations Messi has towards his club, Inter Miami, and Argentina’s upcoming defence of their Copa América title earlier in the summer.

“I spoke with Leo and we agreed to keep talking,” Mascherano revealed in an interview with TyC Sports. “He has just started the season with Inter Miami, and we still have some time until the Olympic Games. And we have to consider he also has the Copa América ahead this summer. It is not an easy situation.”

Mascherano emphasized the difficulty of the decision, as Messi needs to juggle his commitments with Inter Miami in the MLS, the Copa América, and potentially the Olympics. The coach expressed understanding of Messi’s predicament and clarified that there is no intention to pressure or inconvenience him.

“We made him an invitation in advance and we gave him all the facts he needs to think about it and to talk with his club. It is not easy for him, either, to manage it with Inter Miami and the MLS and to be absent for a while. He will decide at the right time,” Mascherano added.

The Olympics football tournament is scheduled to take place between July 24 and August 10, while the Copa América will be played in the U.S. from June 20 to July 10. This clash of timings presents a challenge for players like Messi, who are integral to their club’s and national team’s campaigns.

Miami head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino also weighed in on the situation, indicating that South American players in his team would have to choose between participating in the Copa América or the Olympics. Martino’s remarks highlight the dilemma faced by players like Messi in making such decisions.

Apart from Messi, Mascherano mentioned his desire to call up Argentina’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper, Emiliano Martínez, who currently plays for Premier League side Aston Villa. Mascherano recognized Martínez’s capabilities and expressed the need for valuable players like him to contribute to the team.

“We have the advantage of counting with the World Cup-winning team so many valuable players can contribute. ‘Dibu’ is among the best goalkeepers in the world,” Mascherano stated. However, he acknowledged the uncertainty surrounding players’ availability due to the clubs having the final say in these matters.

The dilemma faced by Lionel Messi and other players torn between club and national team commitments underscores the challenges of balancing multiple obligations in the world of football. As the decision-making process unfolds, it remains to be seen how players like Messi navigate these intricate situations while striving to represent their country at top-level competitions.


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