Lionel Messi will not travel to Singapore for Argentina's international friendly against the Lions at the National Stadium on 13 June, much to the disappointment of football fans in the Republic, who were waiting to see the Barcelona star in action.
The 29-year-old is currently in Melbourne, Australia preparing for his team's international friendly fixture against Brazil, which will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 9 June. He will be missing the fixture as he is flying back to Argentina to prepare for his wedding to long-time girlfriend Antonella Roccuzzo on 30 June in his hometown Rosario, according to Argentinian newspaper Clarin, Today reported.
While the news of Messi missing the clash, which has been organised to mark the 125th anniversary of Football Association of Singapore (Fas), will be a big setback to the organisers of the much-anticipated friendly tie in the region, there is more bad news as Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi will also be giving the tie a miss as he is gearing up for his wedding on 16 June.
Both players will be featuring in the Melbourne game against their South American rivals, after which they have been granted permission to leave the squad, according to newly-appointed coach Jorge Sampaoli.
"Otamendi and Messi are allowed to travel after the game, because they are getting married. so it was already planned that they will leave after the game with Brazil," Sampaoli reportedly said, as quoted by Today.
There has been a quite a lot of buzz around the tie in the Lion City despite Singapore taking on Chinese Taipei in the all-important AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifier on Saturday. Coach V Sundramoorthy and veteran defender Daniel Bennett also said that the Lions were preparing hard for the test against Kazuo Kuroda's men and that the Argentina friendly was not their primary focus.
Fas and match promoter UNICESS said, in a statement, that they are trying their best to get more updates on the participation of Messi and Otamendi in the tie and that they are aware of what is being reported about the situation.
"We are currently working with the Argentinian FA to determine the authenticity of the claims made in these reports and will provide an update as soon as we are able," the statement read, according to The Straits Times.