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'Door is open' for Messi to play at Olympics - Mascherano
23.02.2024
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Lionel Messi has an open invitation to play with Argentina's Olympic squad this summer, according to Albiceleste under-23 coach Javier Mascherano.

Argentina beat reigning gold medallists Brazil 1-0 to secure a spot at the Olympic Games in Paris.

"Everyone already knows my relationship with Leo [Messi], the friendship I have," Mascherano said.

"A player like him has the doors open to accompany us [at the Olympics], then it will obviously depend on him and his commitments."

Messi, who captained his country to their third World Cup title in 2022, celebrated Argentina qualifying for the Olympic by posting on Instagram a photograph of Mascherano's team after Sunday's win with the word: "VAMOS!!!"

Argentina U23 midfielder Thiago Almada said it would be a dream to have eight-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi in the Olympic squad.

"I hope he has the desire, that he can be there," Atlanta United's Almada said.

"We have to see how he is at that time, it would be a dream that he would be able to play."

Messi won gold at the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 and International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach recently said it would be "fantastic for the Olympic Games to have him back there at the Games."

However, Messi has already expressed his desire to compete at the 2024 Copa America which will be staged in the United States from June 20 - July 14, less than two weeks before the Games begin in Paris.

With the MLS regular season continuing uninterrupted while the Copa America takes place, Messi is expected to miss a few games with club side Inter Miami.

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