Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has been called up to the Argentina squad for the first time since the 2018 FIFA World Cup:
The forward opted to take a break from international football after La Albiceleste's disappointing showing in Russia, where they were knocked out in the last 16 of the tournament by France.
However, Messi has now returned to the squad for March friendlies against Venezuela and Morocco:
Argentina play Venezuela at Atletico Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano stadium on March 22 and then face Morocco in Tangier four days later.
Messi is expected to play the first match in Madrid but will not travel to Morocco, according to Tyc Sports (h/t AS Argentina via AS).
Argentina have lost only once in six matches since the World Cup, but the return of their talisman will still be a big boost.
Squawka Football highlighted Messi's international record:
The squad does contain some high-profile absentees. Manager Lionel Scaloni has omitted strikers Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Mauro Icardi from his latest squad.
Messi has been in sensational form once again for Barcelona this season. The Argentine has 33 goals in all competitions for Ernesto Valverde's side and has also contributed 12 assists:
Argentina will use March's friendly matches to prepare for the 2019 Copa America tournament. La Albiceleste have been drawn in Group B and will take on Colombia, Paraguay and Qatar in Brazil.
The tournament is one of the few trophies Messi is still yet to lift in his glittering career, and he's been unable to deliver success for Argentina despite being part of a squad packed full of talent.
The Barcelona star has been a losing finalist in the Copa America three times, but Argentina will be hoping he can inspire his team to victory this summer.