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.
The 31-year old is on a holiday and apparently he bumped into Spanish tennis icon Rafael Nadal on a ight out in Ibiza.
While the Barca forward could be back with his other team mates, for the tour of United States, he is currently enjoying time with his wife – Antonella Roccuzzo, family and friends, after what was a physically demanding season for both club and country.
Nadal meanwhile, is taking time out from the ATP tour, ever since his loss to Serbian Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon semi-finals.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Daniella Semaan – Cesc Fabregas’ wife and a close friend of Antonella also attended the dinner, after which pictures were clicked.
Rafa & Leo had a nice relaxed chat and enjoyed dinner and music.
➡Daniella Semaan, close friend of Antonela and wife of the Spanish footballer Césc Fábregas was there as well. pic.twitter.com/bbuCSDWbJb
— BarcaTimes (@BarcaTimes) July 20, 2018
While the Cristiano Ronaldo–Lionel Messi era has witnessed a beginning-of-the-end stage with the Portugal superstar leaving Real Madrid to join Juventus, the debate over who is the greatest will perhaps go down as the most popular one in football history.
And DC United star Wayne Rooney has weighed in with his pick.
Speaking to the hosts of Pardon My Take podcast, the former Manchester United striker admitted that the Barcelona star is the greatest ever.
Apparently, Rooney, who has played alongside Ronaldo in the Premier League, didn’t take time to reveal his opinion and spontaneously took Messi’s name when asked who is better.
“They’re both probably the best two players to play the game and I think, Messi is, in my eyes, the greatest ever.”
Watch the video below to hear what Rooney had to say.
— Pardon My Take (@PardonMyTake) July 16, 2018