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Atlanta United coach Tata Martino: Argentina have not contacted me

Interim coach Lionel Scaloni admits he's uncertain if Lionel Messi will return to the national team, but is optimistic for the newcomers to the side.

Atlanta United manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino has said the Argentina Football Federation (AFA) has not contacted him about a return to coach the national team, and stressed that he is under contract with Atlanta.

On Tuesday, club representatives declined to comment to the Atlanta Journal Constitution about reported talks between the AFA and Martino, who managed Argentina from 2014-16 after a spell at Barcelona in 2013-14.

"I have not spoken to anyone from Argentina and additionally, I am currently working and under contract with Atlanta and that would have be resolved first," Martino told Radio Caracol after Argentina's goalless draw with Colombia in New Jersey on Tuesday.

"I am not interested in making clarifications about the situation via the media, but no one [from AFA] has said anything to me yet."

Martino, in his second season with Atlanta, said he kept in touch with AFA president Chiqui Tapia and quashed rumours that he could join another national team.

"Tapia has been with me through the worst moments, we have lived together through difficult times, when we didn't have the support from clubs outside of Argentina," he said.

"I have great respect for him because he stuck with the federation during those tough times."

Addressing speculation that he could take over as Colombia coach, he added: "No one has called me from Colombia.

"It pleases me to know that I would be held under consideration, but right now I am under contract with Atlanta and once the MLS season is over, we will see what the future holds."

Martino is scheduled to meet the media on Thursday ahead of Atlanta's match in Colorado.

He said he continued to see improvement in Atlanta after they last season became the first MLS expansion franchise since Seattle in 2009 to make the playoffs. They have already earned a playoff spot in this campaign.

"It is tough in this league for clubs in their first and second MLS seasons to get to the playoffs," he said. "Last year we did that and we lost on penalty kicks, this year we have improved a lot over the previous season."

Addressing his relationship with Barcelona star Lionel Messi, Martino said: "We get along fine, just as any relationships between a coach would be with a player he has to manage.

"I have never had any problems with Messi, nor with any other player on the Argentina national team."

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