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SPORTS | 13-06-2024 09:19

Messi to miss Olympics but leaves door open for 2026 World Cup

It's official: Lionel Messi won't be representing Argentina at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.

Eight-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi has confirmed in an interview with US broadcaster ESPN that he will not attempt to win a second gold medal with Argentina at the Paris Olympics this summer.

"I spoke with [Argentine Olympic coach Javier] Mascherano, and we immediately agreed on the situation," Inter Miami forward Messi said in the interview broadcast on Wednesday.

"It's a difficult moment, because there's the Copa América, and that would mean two or three consecutive months away from my club. 

"At my age, I don't want to play everything and I need to make the right choices," added the former Barcelona star who was a member of Argentina's 2008 Olympic gold medal winning team. 

Messi, who turns 37 on June 24, will be with defending champions Argentina at the Copa América from June 20 to July 14 in the United States, just a few weeks before the Olympics start on July 26. 

Messi, however, has not closed the door on taking part in a record-breaking sixth World Cup, to be held in 2026 between the US, Canada and Mexico. 

"It's great to have records and continue to achieve things but I won't take part in a World Cup just to say I've done six," said Messi. 

"If I feel good and everything is in place for me to be there, fine, but I won't go just to go."

"It's very difficult to imagine what can happen because it's still two years away. I don't need to commit right now to whether or not I'll be there."

 

– TIMES/AFP

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