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Why will Lionel Messi not play in Rio Olympics 2016

IANS
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6.04K   //    02 Feb 2016, 13:26 IST
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Messi played for the Argentine team which won the Gold Medal in Beijing Olympics

Argentinian football star Lionel Messi will not feature in the South American country's national team at the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, coach Gerardo Martino has announced.

"Messi won't go to the Olympic Games because there is a lot of competition for the national team this year," Martino said with World Cup qualifiers also in mind.

"We have the Copa America, the Olympic Games and after that four rounds of the qualifiers.

"The reality at Barcelona shows the season will be long. I want to win very much but not at any price, nor for throwing the players on to the pitch for them to die there."

The 28-year-old forward for Spain's FC Barcelona played in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 where the team won the gold medal.

On this occasion, Argentina defended their title which they also won in Athens 2004 while in London 2012, the team failed to qualify.

Martino said he would make up a team full of players that would represent the future of Argentina's national football team.

The Olympic regulations allow countries to include three players over 23-years-old in their teams.

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