Argentina, Sampaoli says that Messi has a "gun to his head"

Spain already know their team- Sampaoli seeks Argentina certainty

ARGENTINA Sampaoli still to settle on his Argentina XI for Russia Getty Images

"It was tough because we weren't able to lift it [the World Cup trophy]", Messi said in an interview with Fox Sports Argentina ahead of Tuesday's friendly against Spain.

Vice-captain Javier Mascherano has already announced he will retire from global duty after the World Cup, while Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain will all be 30 come the finals. The Argentine joined in with training over the weekend after missing La Albiceleste's 2-0 win over Italy on Friday in Manchester.

Marsden followed up, saying Messi's withdrawal appeared "more precautionary" than anything else, with Barcelona reportedly set to assess their forward when he returns from worldwide duty this week.

Sampaoli has said it is futile "trying to teach Lionel Messi anything" new and it is all about trying to create situations and squad that fits around him. You have to learn how to go with them, not even in coaching terms, but in the sense of how to bring harmony to him, surrounding him with the right atmosphere.

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Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli said Messi trained "normally" on Monday and is available to play.

The Juventus star has previously stated has admitted that he has struggled to link up with Messi because the Argentina stars play so similarly. "But beyond that it is important Messi plays for both the spectacle he offers and because we always want to test ourselves against the best". "His (footballing) mind is much more developed than (the minds of) the rest of us".

Sampaoli said his task with Messi was "to learn how to accompany him", adding Messi was "open" to however he could best help his country. Today he exercised again with normality therefore he will be possibly lining up in the match against Spain. "If there was a risk, he'd have told us".

Spain goalkeeper David de Gea has been among those to criticise the ball set to be used at the finals in Russian Federation, but his coach knows the players will have to quickly get used to it if they are to perform at their best and advance from a group containing Portugal, Morocco and Iran.

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