Lionel Messi rules out playing 2024 Olympics with Argentina

June 12, 2024, 8:29 PM

Lionel Messi has ruled out playing in this summer's Olympics with Argentina, saying it would be "too much" to play in Paris after representing his country at the Copa América.

Messi, 36, is currently with Argentina preparing to defend their Copa América title in the United States. Argentina plays the opening game against Canada on June 20, with the final taking place July 14.

The men's Olympic tournament runs from July 24 to Aug. 9. While for men it is primarily an under-23 event, three overage players are allowed for each team, leading to much discussion that Messi could feature. However, the Inter Miami star told ESPN Argentina in an exclusive interview airing Wednesday that he has informed Argentina U23 coach Javier Mascherano that it will not be possible.

"I talked to Mascherano and the truth is we both understood the situation," he said. "It's hard [to think about the Olympics right now] because we're in Copa América. It would be two, three straight months of not being with the club, and more than anything I'm not at an age to be in everything.

"I have to choose carefully, and it would be too much to play two straight tournaments. I've been very lucky to play in the Olympics, of winning it together with Masche. It was a wonderful experience on a football level. Olympics, U20, memories I'll never forget.

Miami coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino, who is set to be without multiple other players due to this summer's tournaments, has previously said that players must choose between playing either the Copa América or the Olympics.

"I am pro national team, but in this case that there are two competitions [Copa América and Olympics] close together and that implies that a player is away for more than two months," Martino, a former Argentina head coach,  said in February.

Messi has been key to Miami's results this season, contributing 11 goals and 12 assists in 12 matches to put the team top of the Supporters' Shield standings.

A record eight-time Ballon d'Or winner, Messi won Olympic gold with Argentina alongside Mascherano in 2008 in Beijing and has since gone on to complete a full set of international titles with the Copa America in 2021 and World Cup in 2022.