Beijing (Agencies): Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said Wednesday that Lionel Messi “deserves” his high-profile transfer to Inter Miami, as the world champions prepared for a friendly against Australia in Beijing.
Messi, the Argentina captain, last week announced he would join the MLS side after reaching the end of his two-year deal with French giants Paris Saint-Germain.
“I’m very happy that he has decided to go and play for a club in a city that is going to treat him very well,” Scaloni said at a press conference in the Chinese capital.
“Regardless of the league or the country, the important thing is that he feels good in the city and in the club.
“I believe he’ll have the conditions to enjoy himself there — he deserves it.”
Messi said Tuesday that last winter’s World Cup was probably his last.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner will turn 39 during the next World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
“I have said several times before that I don’t think so, that that (2022) was my last World Cup,” he said when asked by China’s Titan Sports if he might feature at the 2026 tournament.
Scaloni said Wednesday that Messi’s “statement seems to me to be very prudent”.
“He is a man who doesn’t tell lies, and the reality is that we’re going to see how he feels,” he said.
“The World Cup is so far away that it makes no sense to think beyond that.”
Argentina and Australia will play a friendly on Thursday evening at Beijing’s 68,000-capacity Workers’ Stadium.
The match will reprise the last-16 clash at the World Cup, where Messi scored and terrorised Australia in a 2-1 win for Argentina in Doha.
The Albiceleste went on to win the World Cup, beating France on penalties in the final.