Messi opts out of Nigeria friendly

Lionel Messi after Argetina lost Copa America 2016 to Chile

Barcelona forward, Lionel Messi, has reportedly pulled out of Argentina’s forthcoming international friendly against Nigeria.

Jorge Sampaoli’s lads are scheduled to face 2018 FIFA World Cup host, Russia, on November 10 before locking horns with three-time African champions, Nigeria, four days later.

According to reports in the South American nation, skipper, Messi, with the permission of Sampaoli, will only feature against the Eastern Europeans and skip the clash with the Africans.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is grappling to remain fit for his club, Barcelona, as they aim to compete on all fronts.

This exact scenario played out in the Albiceleste’s last international friendlies against Brazil (June 9) and Singapore (June 13).

Messi went the distance against the Seleção but was omitted from the matchday squad against the Asians.

Across all levels, Messi has faced the Nigerian national teams five times in the past and has scored six goals, including four against the Super Eagles.

Meanwhile, VfB Stuttgart left-back, Emiliano Insúa, was handed a late call-up by manager Sampaoli on Tuesday, as replacement for the injured AC Milan star, Lucas Biglia, who suffered an inflammation in the patellar tendon of his left knee.