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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Lionel Messi to play for Argentina in Copa America but not Olympics

Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi speaks about football, life and the future with the five captains of La Masia.

Lionel Messi will play in the Copa America in the United States this summer but skip the Olympics, Argentina coach Gerardo Martino has confirmed.

Martino said on Argentina radio station La Red that it was "too much" for the Barcelona star to play in both events and also World Cup qualifiers.

"Messi will not go to the Olympic Games," Martino said on Monday, reiterating comments he made three weeks ago.

Messi, 28, could have been selected to Argentina's Olympic team as one of three players over age 23. He led Argentina to the gold medal in 2008 in Beijing.

The Copa America Centenario takes place from June 3-26, with the Olympics open two months later from Aug. 5-21.

"We have the Copa America, the Olympic Games, and World Cup qualifiers in September, October and November,'' Martino said.

He also mentioned Barcelona's heavy schedule in various tournaments, adding to the wear-and-tear on the Argentine.

Messi's Barcelona teammate Neymar is expected to take part in the Olympics for Brazil, though Martino told Clarin last month: "The context is different in Argentina and Brazil. Plus, they are the hosts.

"To expose Leo to playing a new competition, after all he has done, seems to me to be too much. We would again be damaging ourselves, considering what is ahead in the second half of the year."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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