Messi chides `ridiculous` reports of influencing Argentina selection

ANI | Updated: Nov 09, 2017 16:51 IST

Madrid [Spain], Nov 9 (ANI): Barcelona star striker Lionel Messi has brushed aside recent reports of his influence on the selection of Argentina squad.

Messi dubbed the suggestions as a "total lie".

Last month, Messi single-handedly ensured his team a ticket to Russia for the World Cup by scoring a hat-trick against Ecuador in the qualifying match.

The speculations over Messi came after Inter Milan captain Mauro Icardi was not given space in the team since 2013 before returning to the group under Jorge Sampaoli.

Talking about Icardi's omission from the squad for so long, Messi said, "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.

"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," quoted Messi, as saying.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner further rubbished the claims that some players in the squad are selected because they are his friend and said that accusations are absolutely disrespectful.

"It is also a total lie because I don't run the national team," Messi said.

The 30-year-old also defended Gonzalo Higuain, who is failing to perform in important tournaments including the 2014 World Cup final.

Messi said, "We did not win - and we all went through that. He had the situations he had and they took it against him, but we are used to being told atrocities about us." (ANI)