Maradona can't count on Messi for Argentina | sports | Hindustan Times
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Maradona can't count on Messi for Argentina

sports Updated: Nov 07, 2008 12:28 IST

AP
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New Argentina coach Diego Maradona won't be able to count on Lionel Messi for the national team's upcoming games due to a pre-existing agreement between the Argentine federation and Barcelona.

Maradona met with the Barcelona player on Thursday during a European tour the former Argentina player is using to speak with players who will make up his national squad.

"We can't count on Leo because of the clause with Barcelona because we can't ride roughshod over anybody," Maradona, who spoke with Messi for about 40 minutes alongside Argentina manager Carlos Bilardo, told reporters.

Messi, one of the world's best attackers, is not available for Maradona's first match in charge, a friendly against Scotland on November 19 due to a deal between the Argentine football federation and Barcelona that allowed the 21-year-old to help lead his country to gold at this summer's Olympics. Messi will also be unavailable for a friendly against France in February.

Maradona, who was travelling to Liverpool later on Thursday to meet with Javier Mascherano, said the short trip to Barcelona had served its purpose.

"(I wanted) to speak with Messi and tell him everything we thought, and we have said all we need and we leave happy," Maradona said.

Maradona said Messi told him he wanted "to play every game."

"That leaves everyone feeling calm," Maradona said.

Maradona had hoped to meet with Barcelona president Joan Laporta to discuss the issue but he is in Brussels, Belgium, and doesn't return until late on Thursday.