Borussia Dortmund
2:00 AM UTC May 23, 2018
Game Details
North Carolina FC
Ocean City Nor'easters
11:00 PM UTC
Game Details

Argentina coach Gerardo Martino 'tired' of Lionel Messi rumours

Lionel Messi missing Argentina's friendly in Germany on Wednesday is not a sign that the Barcelona player has reconsidered his commitment to the national cause, national team coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino has said.

- Kelly: Martino era has familiar faces

Martino's first game in charge of the Albiceleste is a rematch of last summer's World Cup final, with the Germans set to present the trophy to the crowd in Dusseldorf in what is likely to be a happier occasion for the hosts than the visitors.

Messi has begun the new campaign in excellent form and completed the 90 minutes in Barcelona's 1-0 La Liga win at Villarreal on Sunday, but was soon pulled from international duty as a "precaution" with the Catalan club saying he had a minor adductor muscle problem.

This led to immediate speculation that the Albiceleste captain had decided to ease up on his international commitment this season after the disappointment of last summer's World Cup.

But Tata, who was Messi's coach at Barcelona last season, said in Ole that such talk was typical of the media attention that always surrounded the four-time Ballon d'Or winner. 

"When you get to coach a player like Leo it is very difficult to keep away from the comments which can circulate," Martino said.

"In Catalonia it was said that he was minding himself for the World Cup, but he ended up scoring 30 La Liga goals. Now this happened [the injury], he is not coming with the team and the rumours start again. Unfortunately sometimes it is up to us coaches to clear up these rumours. It is tiring."

Martino also denied that it was strange that he had not asked Messi to travel to Germany to be examined by Argentina's medical staff.

"[Barcelona] told our doctor about the injury after the game," he said. "There is also a plan to meet with the Barcelona medical team. Sometimes it is not necessary for the players to come all the way here. We also did not make [Ezequiel] Garay travel from Russia."


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.