Lionel Messi to Miss Argentina Friendlies vs. Iraq, Brazil in October

Lionel Messi to Miss Argentina Friendlies vs. Iraq, Brazil in October

Lionel Messi will again be absent from Argentina's squad when they travel to Saudi Arabia next month to take on Iraq and Brazil in two friendly matches. 

The Barcelona superstar missed La Albiceleste's clashes with Guatemala and Colombia earlier this month, and interim coach Lionel Scaloni has now confirmed Messi's hiatus will continue, per Fox Sports 

"I talked to him and we still think that the best thing is that he doesn't come, that he's not in. We are in a different stage and these guys have to keep putting on the shirt of the national team and see what they show, which is the most important thing."

Messi, 31, has not turned out for his national team since their 4-3 defeat at the hands of France in the first knockout round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

His continued absence from the Argentina squad will likely cause further speculation that he may be preparing to depart the international stage altogether.

Messi retired from Argentina duty once before in the wake of their defeat to Chile in the 2016 Copa America final.

However, he reversed his decision two months later and subsequently played a key role in Argentina qualifying for Russia 2018.

Unlike in his club career, where the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has enjoyed unprecedented amounts of success, his international career has largely been one of disappointment.

A decade ago Messi was part of the Argentina squad that won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

But he has also been involved in four major final defeats, including the 2014 FIFA World Cup final loss to Germany.

And Argentina, despite a remarkable amount of attacking talent, actually look to be on the decline at present.

They scraped out of the group at the 2018 World Cup and were deservedly beaten by eventual champions France.

The next major tournament on the horizon for Argentina is the 2019 Copa America in Brazil, which could mark Messi's last chance to win a major trophy with his country unless he decides to quit the international game.