Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni hopeful Lionel Messi will return to national team before Copa America

Argentina legend Diego Maradona has hit out at Lionel Messi
Image: Lionel Messi has not played for Argentina since the 2018 World Cup

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni has said he has a "good feeling" about Lionel Messi's international future and will talk to the Barcelona forward about a possible return.

Messi took a sabbatical from the national side after another disappointing World Cup for his country, with Argentina losing to eventual champions France in the round of 16.

The 31-year-old has not said whether he will play at the Copa America in Brazil in June, but interim coach Scaloni told reporters at Thursday's draw he was hopeful the Barcelona forward might return for a friendly in March.

Lionel Scaloni is hopeful Messi will be back in an Argentina shirt soon
Image: Lionel Scaloni is optimistic about Messi's possible return to the national team

"We will speak with Leo in the days before the March list. When the time is right we will speak," Scaloni said. "I hope he can be here but more than that, we want him to be happy. I have a good feeling."

Although Messi won the U20 World Cup and has an Olympic gold medal to his name, he is still to win a single senior honour with his country, despite featuring at four World Cups and four Copa Americas.

Of those eight major tournaments he has played in, Messi has been a beaten finalist on four occasions and recent failures have left him questioning his future with the national team.

Argentina ask Scaloni to stay in role

Argentina ask Scaloni to stay in role

Argentina have asked interim coach Lionel Scaloni to stay in charge of the team until the Copa America in June

Argentina, whose trophy drought dates back to 1993 when they last won the Copa America, were drawn in Group B for the upcoming tournament alongside Colombia, Paraguay and invited side Qatar.

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Hosts Brazil will play face Peru, Venezuela and Bolivia in Group A, while Uruguay, Japan, Ecuador and reigning champions Chile are in Group C.

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