Messi mulling Olympic Games invitation: Mascherano

Buenos Aires, March 6 (IANS) Argentina Under-23 manager Javier Mascherano has revealed that Lionel Messi is considering an invitation to participate in the Paris Olympics this summer.

Mascherano said the Inter Miami star could be among the three permitted overage players in his squad if the Major League Soccer club agrees to release him.

“I spoke with Leo and we agreed to keep talking,” Mascherano, who was Messi’s teammate at four FIFA World Cups, told TyC Sports in an interview, Xinhua reports.

“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 America ahead this summer. It is not an easy situation.”

The Olympic football tournament will run from July 24 to August 10 and follows the Copa America, to be played in the United States from June 20 to July 14.

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“We have to see if he really has the energy to be there (in Paris),” Mascherano said.

“It is not our intention to bother him or pressure him. We sent him an invitation in advance and we gave him all the facts he needs to think about 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 that he also hoped to call up Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez in his team’s quest for the South American country’s third Olympic football gold medal.

Argentina are the defending Copa America champions, having beaten hosts Brazil in the final of the 2021 edition.

–IANS

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