The national team coach is happy his star player has remained at Camp Nou ahead of the start of World Cup qualifiers for the 2022 tournament in Qatar
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni feels it is “positive” that Lionel Messi stayed at Barcelona because it has allowed the superstar to stay settled
Messi’s unhappiness at how the Catalans were being run saw him hand in a bombshell transfer request, before the 33-year-old exclusively told Goal he would be staying at Camp Nou this season.
Ahead of Thursday’s World Cup qualifier against Ecuador at La Bombonera, Scaloni revealed Messi’s feeling about being in the Argentinian camp and mentioned his relief that the star attacker sorted out his future.
“I spoke to Leo when everything was resolved and I saw him calm,” Scaloni said. “Since his arrival, we’ve been able to have a long chat. He is happy to be here. He’s now well in his club.
“All we wanted from a distance was for everything to be resolved and for him to play and to be fit.
“For us, it’s positive that he stayed because he was able to play immediately, he knows the club, but in terms of decisions, we don’t get involved in that, we don’t step in the player’s territory.”
Messi will be 35 by the time the 2022 World Cup is held in Qatar but the Barca legend is planning on playing in the event for the final time.
The Ecuador match marks the beginning of La Albiceleste’s qualifying campaign with the 10 South American nations playing home and away to decide four direct qualifiers to Qatar, with one facing a play-off with another confederation’s team.
“We want and wish to qualify for the World Cup for our country but also for other reasons, among them for Leo to play there,” Scaloni said. “It’s not something that we are discussing, we are taking it one game at a time.”
Scaloni revealed he plans to keep Messi as a striker for the national team, despite his position being altered to being behind the forwards at Barcelona.
“Leo will always be a striker, whether he plays as a 9 or another position,” he said. “I don’t think his position on the pitch at Barca has changed much, he is still playing up front.”