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Argentina Coach Talks Lionel Messi Absence

Lionel Scaloni says he spoke with Messi personally about it

France v Argentina: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni has explained the absence of Lionel Messi in the team that will play against Iraq and Brazil this month. “I spoke with Leo 10 days ago, approximately,” the manager said. “After the chat we had, the final decision was that he should not come.”

Messi remains absent from Argentina teams after their last competitive match, although rumors continue to suggest the Barcelona star will join the team for next year’s Copa América tournament.

“We are looking for the people to identify with the team,” Scaloni said.

He was also given a chance to respond to the comments of another former Argentina manager, Diego Maradona, who said Scaloni “can’t even direct traffic.”

Scaloni decided to remain above the fray, only saying: “I have nothing to say about what Maradona said about me.”

The manager also revealed he spoke with the coaches of Argentina’s top clubs - Ariel Horan of Independiente, Marcelo Gallardo of River Plate, and Guillermo Barros Schelotto of Boca Juniors - “just to talk about the players I selected, nothing special.”

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