Mascherano confirms Messi Olympics talks: 'Not easy for him'

Messi scores twice as Inter Miami thrash Orlando SC (1:01)

Lionel Messi scores two goals in the second half, helping Inter Miami cruise to a 5-0 victory over Orlando SC. (1:01)

Argentina under-23 coach Javier Mascherano confirmed he has spoken with Lionel Messi over appearing at the Paris Olympics this summer, but admitted it is "not an easy situation."

Club teams are not obligated to release players to compete in the Olympics, which features U23 rosters with three overage players, and Inter Miami star Messi is also expected to lead Argentina's defence of their Copa América title earlier in the summer.

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"I spoke with Leo and we agreed to keep talking," Mascherano, a former teammate of Messi, told TyC Sports in an interview published Tuesday. "He has just started the season with Inter Miami and we still have some time until the Olympic Games. And we have to consider he also has the Copa América ahead this summer. It is not an easy situation.

"We have to see if he really has the energy to be there [in Paris]. It is not our intention to bother him or pressure him. We made him an invitation in advance and we gave him all the facts he needs to think about it and to talk with his club. It is not easy for him, either, to manage it with Inter Miami and the MLS and to be absent for a while. He will decide at the right time"

The Olympics football tournament will take place between July 24 and Aug. 10, with the Copa América being played in the U.S. running from June 20 to July 10.

Miami will be competing in MLS and the Leagues Cup during those dates.

Speaking last month, Miami head coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino suggested the South American players on his team would have to choose only one tournament to participate in.

Using the example of Miami's Paraguay midfielder Diego Gómez, Martino said: "We know that we have to give him to the Copa, and not to the Games, we communicate; I have many friends there [in Paraguay's FA] and I told them to choose only one."

Responding to Martino, Mascherano said: "Beyond the fact that he still has a superlative level, we have to understand that Leo's age is a factor now. He clearly has to manage his efforts."

It is not only Messi who faces being torn between Argentina and his club over the Olympics. Mascherano also confirmed that he would like to call up Argentina's World Cup-winning goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez of Premier League side Aston Villa.

"How can we not consider 'Dibu' Martínez as an option for Paris?" Mascherano said. "We have the advantage of counting with the World Cup-winning team so many valuable players can contribute. 'Dibu' is among the best goalkeepers in the world.

"We will always take his desire into account, but then we have to bring that desire into reality. Because the clubs have the final decision on the players' availability. We still don't have the information from the [Aston Villa] coach or executives on this.

"So, it isn't easy for me to name players because there is a lack of certainty. And I also want to respect the under-23 players who have achieved the qualification and those who have been part of the process."