Claims that Lionel Messi exerts an influence on Argentina’s squad selection have been dismissed by the star attacker as a “total lie”.
Despite his importance on the pitch, the Barcelona forward has been subject to speculation suggesting he holds too much influence over who plays for Argentina.
Inter captain Mauro Icardi, who is married to the ex-wife of Messi’s friend Maxi Lopez, had not been selected since 2013 before returning to the group under Jorge Sampaoli.
But Messi is adamant he has never held any sway over the coach’s decisions.
“It was said that I didn’t want Icardi coming to the national team, but I’ve never decided if a player comes or not,” Messi said in an interview with _TyC Sports_.
“Now it’s coming out that all that was said was a lie. I never said I didn’t want Icardi in the national team, nor did I make anyone leave other players out.
“Telling great players that they’re only playing because they’re Messi’s friend is disrespectful — and it’s also a total lie because I don’t run the national team.”