Lionel Messi

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Lionel Messi puts Olympic gold medal in context of career

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Lionel Messi owns titles from La Liga, the U-20 World Cup and the UEFA Champions League.

His most prized trophy?

“The Olympic gold in 2008 is the win that I value the most,” Messi said, according to a Goal.com translation of a Spanish Esquire interview, “because it is a tournament that you may only play in once in your life and involves many athletes from different disciplines.”

Messi, then 21, helped lead Argentina to Olympic gold at the 2008 Beijing Games, his only Olympic appearance.

“The fact that we have been to the athletes village and met famous sportsmen, it’s all an experience that we will not forget quickly,” Messi said in 2008, according to The Associated Press.

The Olympic men’s soccer tournament is mostly made up of players 23 and younger, with veteran stars typically not taking part. Messi may have been able to play at the Rio Olympics, but the Copa America Centenario took precedence for Argentina’s national team last summer.

Without him, Argentina was knocked out in group play in Brazil.

One would think a World Cup title would triumph all for Messi.

“World Cup is great,” he said in May, according to ESPN, “but Olympics are something special.”

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Lionel Messi out of Rio Olympics, but Carlos Tevez possible, report says

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Lionel Messi will not be one of Argentina’s over-age selections for its Rio Olympic soccer roster, national team manager Gerardo Martino said in a radio interview, according to O Globo.

That agrees with what Martino said in December, when he didn’t see Messi’s inclusion as feasible on the Olympic roster.

Messi, then 21, earned Olympic gold with Argentina at Beijing 2008. He may be used for the Argentina national team at Copa America Centenario in June rather than the Olympics in August.

Martino is considering making 2004 Olympic champion and longtime Argentina national team striker Carlos Tevez one of the three over-age players in Rio, according to O Globo.

All but three players on an 18-man Rio Olympic soccer squad must be born on or after Jan. 1, 1993.

MORE SOCCER: Brazil taps favorites for over-age Olympic players

Lionel Messi unlikely to play in Rio Olympics, Argentina coach says

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Lionel Messi is unlikely to be one of a maximum three over-age players on Argentina’s soccer team for the Rio Olympics, national team coach Gerardo Martino said in this video interview published Wednesday.

Martino said a decision on Messi and the Olympics hasn’t been made, but he doesn’t see Messi’s inclusion feasible at least in part because the under-23 national team is stacked with attackers.

Messi, 28, is over the under-23 age limit for Olympic soccer rosters. However, nations can include three players with no age restrictions on the Olympic team.

Messi, then 21, won gold with Argentina at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, despite the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling his club team, Barcelona, did not have to release him to play.

Argentina did not qualify for the 2012 Olympics.

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