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Messi may feature for Argentina again at the Olympics

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The door is open for Lionel Messi to play at this year’s Paris Olympics, Argentina’s under-23 manager Javier Mascherano said.

Argentina secured their place at the Games after beating Brazil 1-0 on Sunday in the final four of South America’s qualifying tournament.

Messi was in the gold-winning Argentina team that defeated Nigeria 1-0 at Beijing 2008 final match.

Asked about the possibility of 36-year-old Messi playing in Paris, his former Argentina and Barcelona team mate Mascherano told reporters: “Well, everyone knows my relationship with Leo, the friendship I have with him.

“I have always said that a player like Leo has opened doors and the invitation to accompany us then will obviously depend on him, his compromises and his time, but the invitation will clearly be there.”

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Inter Miami forward Messi, who guided Argentina to World Cup victory in Qatar in 2022, won gold with the national team at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

The men’s soccer tournament at the Olympics takes place in July and August. Teams are allowed three overage players in their squads.

-Reuters

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.