Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria have reportedly let the Argentine Football Association (AFA) know they want to play at the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics if Argentina secure qualification for the football event.
According to DSports.tv in Argentina, the pair would like to represent Argentina’s U-23 national team if they secure a spot in the upcoming pre-Olympic tournament to be held in Venezuela.
The report claims that the AFA is already preparing a plan to achieve this. The aim would be for a group of under-23 players to join the senior national team during the FIFA international break in March so they can be together and even take part in training with Messi and Di Maria. But of course all of that will depend on how Javier Mascherano’s side fare in the upcoming pre-Olympic competition.
‘Last Dance’ for Messi and Di Maria?
Although it sometimes goes unnoticed due to their fantastic performances, neither Messi nor Di Maria are getting any younger. Therefore, the upcoming Olympics could be seen as the “last dance” with your country’s uniform.
Di Maria has already said he will not play in the 2026 World Cup and says the 2024 Copa America will be his last tournament playing for Argentina. But now it looks like he could push through his international retirement because of the Olympics. Messi, meanwhile, has hinted that he also does not see himself playing at the 2026 World Cup, although he has never confirmed this as Di Maria has.
The Inter Miami star, who turns 37 in June, is also expected to play in the Copa America, so it will be interesting to see how he and Di Maria manage to play in both competitions without being exhausted.
Copa America 2024, which will be played in the USA, will be held from June 20 to July 14. The 2024 Summer Olympics will be held from July 26 to August 11. In the event that Argentina advances to the Copa America final, Messi and Di Maria would practically have no time to rest before the start of the Olympics. But if their desire is to play in both competitions, they will probably find a way to do it.
Messi and Di Maria have already won an Olympic gold medal together in Beijing 2008, with the Benfica star scoring the winning goal in the final against Nigeria. 16 years later, they could be aiming for a second medal in a potential final dance with Argentina.