Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni has confirmed that Lionel Messi will start against Venezuela on Friday, ending his nine-month absence from the national side.
Messi has not represented his country since the World Cup last-16 exit at the hands of France in Russia last June.
Following that 4-3 defeat, Messi took a self-imposed break from the international game, missing six games that have marked the beginning of Scaloni's tenure.
But he will feature from the start in Friday's friendly in Madrid as Argentina step up their preparations for the Copa America, which gets under way in less than three months.
Lionel Scaloni en conferencia: "La formación será: Armani, Tagliafico, L. Martínez, Foyth, Mercado, Montiel, Lo Celso, Paredes, G. Martínez, Messi y L. Martínez".— Selección Argentina (@Argentina) March 21, 2019
"It's a joy that Messi comes back," Scaloni told a news conference. "Despite my youth, I have a chance to train him.
"I have to try to get the team to accompany him and make the best of it. Let's hope that with Messi's return the team is more empowered."
Although revelling in the return of Messi, Scaloni was disappointed to see Angel Di Maria withdraw from the squad due to a muscular problem.
"When a player gets hurt, it's never good, both for the coach and for the group," Scaloni added. "I would have liked to see Angel.
"Hopefully, when we have to give the list for the Copa America, all players are available."
Argentina will be strong favourites to overcome Venezuela at the Wanda Metropolitano, especially with Messi restored to the line-up, but Scaloni is taking nothing for granted.
"They're a team on the rise. They play pretty direct football," he said. "Venezuela is a very difficult rival. It's a good test for what's coming.
"Tomorrow we will try to do our best. We'll attack and when we do not have the ball, defend as best as possible."
19 de abril 2019
|Koulibaly not drawn on future after Napoli loss|
|Ancelotti backs Napoli squad despite Europa League disappointment|
|Ajax in Champions League semis is ´crazy´, says Vertonghen|
|Pochettino reflects on ´bad feelings´ during dramatic win|
|Embiid to miss 76ers´ game three against Nets|
|Lowry leads RBC Heritage, Johnson makes good start|
|Benfica boss Lage bemused by touchline dismissal|
|Arsenal favourites for Europa League - Marcelino|
|Milner hoping for third time lucky at Barcelona|
|This Week in US Sports: Lightning handed historic loss, Red Sox massively hungover|
|Emery expects Ramsey to be out for ´some weeks´|
|NFL Draft 2019: Should Cardinals take Murray or stick with Rosen?|
|It´s a big problem – Sarri baffled by Chelsea´s second-half woes|
|Hazard knock ´nothing serious´, hopes Sarri|
|Drop in intensity caused Chelsea´s Europa League fright – Giroud|
18 de abril 2019
|Focused Crawford welcomes Sugar Ray Leonard comparisons|
|Giants GM Dave Gettleman shuts down Josh Rosen trade talk|
|Cas hold off Wakefield to win thrilling derby|
|Arsenal saw off Napoli with spirit - Koscielny|
|Napoli 0 Arsenal 1 (0-3 agg): Lacazette stunner sees Gunners coast through|
|Eintracht Frankfurt 2 Benfica 0 (4-4 agg): Hutter´s men through on away goals after controversial Ko|
|Chelsea 4 Slavia Prague 3 (5-3 agg): Sarri´s men reach semis despite alarming second half|
|Valencia 2 Villarreal 0 (5-1 agg): Lato and Parejo set up Arsenal semi-final clash|
|Sharapova comeback delayed after Stuttgart withdrawal|
|Arsenal hit the front despite Ramsey blow|
|Liverpool to match Barcelona´s ticket prices and subsidise supporters|
|Manchester City lay on Wembley coaches for fans|
|Pandya brothers, Chahar and Bumrah star in comprehensive Mumbai win|
|Rose, Smalling and Deeney launch PFA anti-racism campaign #Enough|
|Hazard set for second Europa League start of season|
|Thiem beaten in Monte Carlo, serene progress for Nadal and Djokovic|
|Manchester United face ´really tough´ trip to Everton, warns Silva|
|The NFL is a business - Josh Rosen has no complaints about Cardinals trade rumours|
|Tiger Woods´ Masters win hailed as ´greatest comeback´ by Michael Jordan|
|Pellegrini: Wilshere can provide ´a good injection´|
|Eredivisie fixtures move boosts Ajax´s Champions League bid|
|Nobody believed in Spurs´ destiny, says Pochettino|
|Real Madrid have €500m to spend, says Capello|
|Simeone: Positives of ´animal´ Costa outweigh negatives|
|Nadal outclasses Dimitrov to rack up 70th Monte Carlo win|
|Joshua opponent to be confirmed next week - Hearn|
|Focusing after Champions League euphoria is difficult, concedes Pochettino|
|Khedira to undergo knee surgery|
|No place for Amir in Pakistan World Cup squad|
|With Harry Kane all is possible - Pochettino not ruling out return for Spurs striker|
|Kovac won´t rush Neuer back from latest injury|
|Milner expecting Manchester City reaction against Spurs|
|Messi criticism in Argentina unfair, says Simeone|
|Djokovic breezes through in blustery Monte Carlo|
|Sharks storm back to down fast-starting Panthers|
|Sydney FC 1 Perth Glory 0: Premiers Plate winners downed by Le Fondre|
|Amla pips Hendricks to Proteas World Cup place|
|Horn confident he can deliver if he gets shot at Brook|
|O´Sullivan to face amateur Cahill in World Championship opener|
|McLeish leaves Scotland role after Kazakhstan debacle|
|Manchester City v Tottenham and the greatest Champions League matches in history|
|Barton denies allegations after Barnsley complaint|
|Napoli defender Koulibaly worth €150m, says Ancelotti|
|Barcelona book reunion with Iniesta, Villa on Japan tour|
|Irving: There´s ´nothing like´ delivering for the Celtics in the playoffs|
|Facing Messi will be hard, says Van Dijk|
|Chandimal misses out on Sri Lanka´s World Cup squad|
|Champions League: Ajax v Tottenham, Liverpool v Barcelona semi-final dates confirmed|
|We´re almost there - Harden sees Rockets peaking in playoffs|
|Hazard is Chelsea´s best foreign player, says Zola|
|Bernardo Silva: Man City want titles, not Spurs revenge|
|Giannis has faith in Budenholzer to keep him fresh|
|Ireland skipper Best to retire after World Cup|
|In my head we were eliminated - Sissoko unaware Sterling´s goal had been disallowed|
|Wallabies can win World Cup without ´completely wrong´ Folau - Genia|