Argentina chief asks Lionel Messi to play less at Barcelona 11 months ago

Argentina chief asks Lionel Messi to play less at Barcelona

Argentine football federation president Claudio Tapia has asked Barcelona forward Lionel Messi to play less at his club ahead of this summer's 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Messi was instrumental in guiding La Albiceleste to the 2014 FIFA World Cup final where the 30-year-old led Argentina in scoring with four goals, second to only Thomas Muller and Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez. 

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has started in 33 of the team’s total 39 games this season and Tapas revealed that he has spoken with Messi about playing less as the World Cup draws closer.

“I hope all the players arrive in the level they are at the moment. Sergio Aguero is playing outstanding right now and Lionel Messi is always at the top of his game,” Tapia told Argentine network TYC Sports.

“That’s vital for the directors and the coaching staff. We have spoken to Messi about taking care of himself and about playing less for Barcelona.”

Messi has scored 20 goals in 23 league games for Barcelona this season as the Catalan giants sit seven points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of the La Liga table.

Barcelona have also qualified for the Copa del Rey final where Messi has scored three goals in the last five games.