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Lionel Messi Argentina hiatus for U.S. trip 'disappointing' - Guatemala chief

Former Argentina international Juan Sebastian Veron discusses how the national side needs to structure itself going forward, following their performance at the 2018 World Cup.

Guatemala Football Federation president Juan Carlos Rios is both surprised and disappointed that Lionel Messi will not be a part of the Argentina side his team will face in a friendly next month.

Argentina travel to the United States to take on Guatemala in Los Angeles on Sept. 7 before facing Colombia five days later in New Jersey.

Messi, who captained Argentina to the Round of 16 at this summer's World Cup in Russia, where they were eliminated by France, is expected to take a break from the national team for the remainder of 2018.

"It has come as a complete shock," Rios is reported to have said in Clarin newspaper. "We are saddened that we will not be able to see Messi because he is the best in the world. We wanted to face an Argentinian side with Messi.

"To have the opportunity to face Messi meant a lot to us. I understand that they [Argentina] are going through a process of change but we are nevertheless very sad from a football standpoint. This game had been already planned before the World Cup."

Argentina Football Association (AFA) president Claudio Tapia spoke last month of how important it is for his organisation to have Messi play for the national team for financial reasons. Tapia also said he would give the Barcelona superstar time to decide if h wi'll return to the national team. 

The AFA have yet to select a full-time replacement for coach Jorge Sampaoli, who was sacked shortly after the World Cup.

Former Argentina internationals Lionel Scaloni and Pablo Aimar were chosen to guide the Albiceleste for next month's friendlies. They are expected to give a squad list on Sunday with five-time Balon d'Or winner Messi set to be left out.

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