LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – Lionel Scaloni claims that Lionel Messi’s World Cup announcement was “logical,” but the Argentina manager still believes that Messi may be able to attend the 2026 tournament.
In a shocking interview on Tuesday, the World Cup-winning Albiceleste captain said that while he wouldn’t put up his international boots right away, he will not compete in the 2026 edition of the premier international competition.
However, when the tournament in Canada, Mexico, and the United States inevitably arrives, Argentina coach Scaloni won’t be shutting the door for Messi. Scaloni believes the time is perfect to make such a decision.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of Thursday’s friendly clash against Australia, Scaloni told reporters: “His statements seem to me to be very prudent and he is not lying.
“The reality is that he’s going to see what happens. We’re going to follow his progress and I think it’s the logical thing to do. The World Cup is so far away and he is very cautious.
“The important thing is that he feels good and that he wants to play. With the passage of time we will see how he is and if he feels up to it, which is the important thing because he will know how to play football today and in ten years’ time.”
When questioned directly about Messi’s projected playing time versus the Socceroos, Scaloni replied: “In principle the whole game, but we’ll see. He’s always played with me.”
The 35-year-old’s statement on Wednesday wasn’t his only shocking disclosure in recent days.
In addition to declaring that the Ballon d’Or was “no longer important” to him, Messi rejected offers from Saudi Arabia and his old team Barcelona by announcing his impending transfer to MLS team Inter Miami, ending a turbulent period at Paris Saint-Germain.
And Scaloni told reporters: “Messi will be playing for a team that fully appreciates him, and I’m happy about that.”I’m happy that he has chosen to play for a club in a city that I think will treat him wonderfully, where he will be happy playing football, which is what we all want.
“Regardless of the league or the country, it is important that he feels good, in the league and at the club. And I think he’s going to have the conditions to do well there, which is what it’s all about. He has earned it and he deserves it”.
According to Scaloni, Messi will start against Australia on Thursday before Argentina takes on Indonesia in its following friendly on Monday.