Argentina national coach Gerardo Martino stated that Lionel Messi understands why he has been left out of the Olympic team.
He said that he had taken the decision to protect Messi from being burned out.
Indeed, Lionel Messi will have to participate in the Copa America first with the national team. Martino said that he felt that Messi will need a break after a long season in Europe and that it would have been insane to make him play in two major tournaments. For him, Argentina can manage without Messi in the Olympics but not in Copa America.
He said that things would have been different if there were no Copa America this year but with the current schedule it is preferable for Messi to avoid playing in the Olympics.
He compared the situation to Brazil where they have taken the decision to play Neymar only in the Olympics instead of the Copa America. Martino said that he will strengthen the Olympics team in defence where he felt that there is a need.
Martino believes that Argentina will have to make some compromises in both tournaments. Clubs will be unwilling for their players to participate in both competitions and it is important that he find a right balance for the teams. He believes that taking part in the Copa America will provide enough time for Messi to recover and to participate in his club’s pre-season training camp.
Lionel Messi is yet to win the Copa America with Argentina. Twice he has finished as runners-up, and he would want to win it this time. The tournament will be held this year in the United States and might be the most challenging ever with many other national teams having good players.