Right now, the Argentine national team is experiencing one of their greatest periods ever. Since they won the 2022 World Cup, losing has become quite rare, and fans are eager to see them play. However, the idea that the same need might sabotage lucrative chances is hard to fathom.

Reports indicate that Lionel Messi’s side lost an opportunity to play Spain after the two failed friendlies in China. As a result, the team landed in the USA to fill the international break.

It would have been ideal for the Albiceleste to face the top teams in the world ahead of Copa America. They would have felt better about themselves if they had won the match against Spain, a European powerhouse.

But when it comes to money, the World Champions would not budge. The Argentine Football Association (AFA) reportedly sought an outrageous sum of money from the Spanish national team. Thus, the players decided not to play in a friendly match against Lionel Messi, as per El Pais. So, La Roja went with a game against Brazil, the 5-time title World Cup winner, UOL adds.

How did Spain fare in friendlies after denying Argentina?

At the same time, Argentina traveled to the United States for a pair of friendly matches. They dominated over Costa Rica and El Salvador, two teams only slightly lower in the rankings.

Nonetheless, taking into consideration the soccer rivalry between Argentina and Spain, their matchup may have been intriguing. Surprisingly, the two sides have clashed 14 times before, with 6 wins each and 2 draws. Not to mention that the reigning champions may have been seeking vengeance for their 6-1 setback in their last meeting.

That so, Spain had a tough test against Brazil, a quality squad. Endrick, a promising 17-year-old soon joining Real Madrid, grabbed the show with a goal. He also went up against the technically gifted Lamine Yamal of Spain.

How did Argentina do without Messi?

The Argentine national team entered their friendly matches without Lionel Messi, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Despite their captain’s knock, Lionel Scaloni’s side has shown no signs of panic and has plenty of time to prepare for the Copa America.

Angel Di Maria suggested Lionel Messi should rest now if he hopes to avoid missing the continental competition in June. The team coach has already commented on their involvement in the 2024 Copa America.

The head coach of La Albiceleste, according to writer Gaston Edul, said, “Only Messi and Di María have their places guaranteed in the Copa America.” The fact that Scaloni chose not to mention the apparent names—Emiliano Martinez, Paulo Dybala, Rodrigo De Paul, Lautaro Martínez, and Julian Alvarez—adds to the surprise. There is, however, a more fundamental explanation for why Scaloni and his coaching team have narrowed the field to Messi and Di Maria. The 45-year-old is expected to put up a team for the next event in the USA that is comparable to the one that won the World Cup in Qatar.

On the other hand, Scaloni seems to be selecting his roster with great care, giving serious thought to each player before making a decision. Also, other worthy players won’t miss out on a chance to shine as they did in the World Cup if he does this.