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Messi has ‘invitation’ to play for Argentina at Olympics: Mascherano

The door is open for Lionel Messi to play at this year’s Paris Olympics, Argentina’s under-23 manager Javier Mascherano said.

Argentina secured their place at the Games after beating Brazil 1-0 on Sunday in the final four of South America’s qualifying tournament.

Asked about the possibility of 36-year-old Messi playing in Paris, his former Argentina and Barcelona team mate Mascherano told reporters: “Well, everyone knows my relationship with Leo, the friendship I have with him.

“I have always said that a player like Leo has opened doors and the invitation to accompany us then will obviously depend on him, his compromises and his time, but the invitation will clearly be there.”

Inter Miami forward Messi, who guided Argentina to World Cup victory in Qatar in 2022, won gold with the national team at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

The men’s soccer tournament at the Olympics takes place in July and August. Teams are allowed three overage players in their squads.