Lionel Messi Poised To Make Argentina Return Against Venezuela In March
Lionel Messi has been on a break from international football since Argentina's disappointing World Cup campaign but looks set to make a return for La Albiceleste in March.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is closing in on nine months away from the national team - his last appearance coming in the 4-3 round of 16 defeat to eventual World Cup winners France.
There had even been rumours suggesting Messi would retire from international football for a second time to focus on his club career with Barcelona.
However, Claudio Tapia, the president of the Argentine FA, revealed that he met with the Barcelona talisman at the 2018 Copa Libertadores final between Boca Juniors and River Plate and was confident Messi would be back.
"Leo never left the national team, so I have no doubt that he will return when he is called up," he said.
And now according to Goal, Argentina's all-time top scorer will pull on the blue and white stripes again in a friendly against Venezuela on March 22.
Copa America 2019 draw tonight. And word from @GoalArgentina is that Messi will be there in June, with him likely to re-join Argentina for the March friendlies.
- Rupert Fryer (@Rupert_Fryer) January 24, 2019
The game will take place at Atletico Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano, meaning Messi won't have far to travel for his 129th Argentina cap.
Messi will not only be looking to add to his 65 international goals, he's still searching for a major honour in international football. Though he won the U20 World Cup and has an Olympic gold medal to his name, at senior level he has lost finals on four occasions: the 2014 World Cup and the 2007, 2015 and 2016 Copa America tournaments.
A return means there's still time on his side though, with Messi expected to play and captain his country in the 2019 edition of the Copa America in June. Argentina have been drawn in Group B, alongside Paraguay, Colombia and Qatar.
At yesterday's draw, Argentina manager Lionel Scalini told reporters he was optimistic Messi would be back in the fold very soon.
"We will speak with Leo in the days before the March list. When the time is right we will speak," Scaloni said, as per Sky Sports.
"I hope he can be here but more than that, we want him to be happy. I have a good feeling."
Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria are expected to join Messi back in the Argentina national team fold when the next squad is announced.