Lionel Messi will skip the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in six months because Argentina's national team coach Gerardo Martino says the Barcelona star needs to rest.
Martino spoke Monday on Argentine radio station La Red and said Messi will play in the Centennial Copa América tournament in the United States, but not the Olympics in Brazil.
"Messi will not go to the Olympic Games," said Martino, who said it was "too much" for the Barcelona star to play in both events and also World Cup qualifiers.
The Centennial Copa América begins June 3, and the Olympics open two months later on Aug. 5.
"We have the Copa América, the Olympic Games, and World Cup qualifiers in September, October and November," Martino said.
He also mentioned Barcelona's heavy schedule in various tournaments, adding to the wear-and-tear on the Argentine.
Messi is 28 and could have been selected for the Olympic team as one of three over-23 age players. He led Argentina to the gold medal in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics.