Argentina captain Lionel Messi is likely to miss the next four friendly matches for his country, according to local reports.
La Albiceleste endured a torrid World Cup campaign and exited at the second-round hurdle to France, resulting in Jorge Sampaoli’s sacking.
It led to speculation that Messi, who scored just once against Nigeria in a below-par tournament, could quit the international side given the five-time Ballon d’Or winner previously retired after Argentina’s 2016 Copa America final defeat to Chile.
Next month, Argentina have two friendly matches against Guatemala in Los Angeles on September 7 and then face Colombia in New York.
Messi is set to miss both of those as well as two other friendly clashes, which have yet to be confirmed, before the end of the year.
“Messi will not return this year and there are doubts about his future,” Argentinian daily Clarin reported.
Argentine news website Infobae added: “He will take a rest period, but that doesn’t mean he’s quitting.”
Argentina’s next big assignment is the Copa America in Brazil next summer, in what is another opportunity for Messi to finally win a major honour with his country.
Lionel Scaloni is currently in temporary charge of the South American giants.
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