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Argentina beaten by Venezuela on Lionel Messi return

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The Barcelona captain played for the first time since the World Cup

Argentina v Venezuela - International Friendly Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Lionel Messi returned to international duty with Argentina on Friday for the first time since the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

However, it was not a happy return for the Barcelona captain, as Lionel Scaloni’s side were beaten 3-1 by Venezuela at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Newcastle United striker Salomon Rondon opened the scoring after just six minutes of the game, and Jhon Murillo made it 2-0 just before half-time.

Messi did provide some flashes of inspiration in the first half. A brilliant run and cross found Lautaro Martínez, but he could not beat the goalkeeper who saved his header.

Argentina pulled one back in the second half just before the hour mark through Martínez after great work from Messi and Giovani Lo Celso.

However, Venezuela restored their two-goal lead from the penalty spot. Josef Martinez netted after Juan Foyth fouled Darwin Machis.

Argentina now head to Morocco for a friendly on Tuesday, although it’s not clear yet if Messi will play in that game.