Argentina could yet pay a heavy price for the deal which has allowed Lionel Messi to play at the Olympic Games. After a back forth battle the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling that Barcelona were not obliged to release him for the Olympics. But, with Messi already in China and having made it clear his heart was in the Olympics, Barcelona relented and said he could play — provided certain conditions were met.
- The Argentina Football Association (AFA) would effectively pay Messi’s wages while he is in China: expensive but not impossible.
- Argentina will not pick Messi for any friendly internationals in the next year: possibly a big mistake, friendlies are partly organised on the basis of people paying money to watch the star players from a team. Messi is is the one the fans really want to see. Without him, Argentina’s appearance fee will likely suffer a considerable knockdown.
On the plus side though he played a key part on the pitch and was the driving force as Argentina beat Australia 1-0 to secure their place in the quarter-finals.