The president of the Argentina Football Association has asked Lionel Messi to start playing fewer games for FC Barcelona ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Claudio Tapia, who is head of the AFA, revealed to members of the media that he has spoken to the 30-year-old about limiting his game time so that he can rest and be fresh for the national team come June.
“I hope all the (Argentina) players arrive at the level they are playing at right now," Tapia told TyC Sports.
"Sergio Aguero is playing outstanding at the moment and Lionel Messi is always at the top of his game. That’s vital for the directors and the coaching staff.
"With Messi, we have spoken about looking after him and playing less than he has -- if there are games that don't merit his presence, then for him not to play in order to take care of himself a bit more. I think that's good."
Tapia also confirmed that La Albiceleste will train in Barcelona ahead of the World Cup and could play a friendly against Catalonia at the Camp Nou.
"(Argentina coach) Jorge Sampaoli told me it would be good for us from a football point of view and it’s important for us from a financial point of view, but we haven’t closed the deal yet,” he added.
Messi has made 36 appearances for the Blaugrana this season, scoring 27 goals and further assisting in 14 more.
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