Lionel Messi's return for Argentina ends in 3-1 defeat against Venezuela

Lionel Messi's return for Argentina ends in 3-1 defeat against Venezuela

Messi has not represented his country since the World Cup last-16 exit to France in Russian Federation last June.

But Menotti, who coached Argentina to World Cup success in 1978 and is now the country's director of national teams, is anxious about Messi's wellbeing.

"I'm afraid that Messi plays", Menotti told FM 94.7.

"But we need the rest, who are all top players and key figures at their clubs, to give us that bit extra to try and be a great team".

"We only want all of his team-mates to know that they are great players too and it's also for them to make a step forward, not just Messi".

The 24-year-old keeper said it is an "honour" to have him return to the worldwide stage.

Cloning humans has always been a fantasy of science fiction writers and people who like their girlfriends a little too much, but finally one expert reckons he could produce an exact replica of Lionel Messi.

Obviously, the five-time Ballon d'Or victor has played his fair share of teams around the world, from competing in World Cups to Champions Leagues.

Since the disappointing World Cup exit Messi has missed Argentina's subsequent friendly games under new a manager Lionel Scaloni who was appointed after the tournament in Russian Federation.

"For us to take on Argentina is a good way to see how we stack up".

The No.10 hasn't played for his country since the World Cup exit against France, but will be back for this match even if he's not expected to play the full 90 minutes.

Messi will hope to put away his final losses in the 2015 and 2016 Copa America finals to Chile and lead Argentina to win the 2019 Copa America which will be hosted by perennial rivals Brazil. "With his much-anticipated return, the demands become higher".

Oh, and it's worth remembering that the map doesn't include his performances in friendly matches.

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