Lionel Messi's No. 10 should be worn during Argentina absence - Sergio Romero
Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero does not believe the No. 10 shirt should go unused during Lionel Messi's absence from the national team.
The number is usually worn by the best player in the side, but Messi has taken an indefinite break from representing Argentina and will not feature in upcoming friendlies against Guatemala and Colombia in the United States.
"The No. 10 jersey has always been used," Romero, the Manchester United keeper, told TyC Sports. "I don't understand why it's not being used now. I haven't asked. I haven't inquired. I had no idea that it wasn't going to be used.
"In all the friendlies, it has always been available. Probably, for some reason, it will not be used now. I just found out."
Messi was under intense pressure before the World Cup and has refused to comment on his future with the national team since Argentina's round-of-16 exit against winners France.
"If Leo returns, it's normal that he is the owner of the No. 10 and the captain's armband -- no one on the inside or outside has any doubt about that," Romero said. "But if it's a number that is available for a friendly and Leo is not here, then anyone can use it. We already know that if he is here, it will be his, so then there's no problem."
In Messi's absence, Romero, who missed the World Cup through injury, had been expected to captain the side in the friendly against Guatemala in Los Angeles on Friday, but interim coach Lionel Scaloni said that honour will instead go to Ajax defender Nico Tagliafico.
Argentina Football Association president Claudio Tapia said earlier this week that Messi should not be under pressure to return to the squad.
"We spoke to Leo and we shall see if in the next call-up he will return or not, but there's no reason to speak about him now," Scaloni said in a news conference.