Argentina vs Venezuela: Lionel Messi returns to national colours

The Argentine star is expected to start for Argentina against Venezuela in Friday's friendly.

The quarterfinal match against France in last year's FIFA World Cup was Lionel Messi's last international appearance in the national colours.   -  Getty Images

It's been nine months since France handed Argentina a 4-2 drubbing at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and a lot has changed in the Argentinian camp since. Lionel Scaloni took over as coach from Jorge Sampaoli, Javier Mascherano has retired, and Lionel Messi hasn't played in any of the side's six friendlies since.

However, this isn't the first time Messi has taken a break from international duties. He famously announced his retirement from international football after he missed a penalty in the 2016 Copa America loss to Chile. While he made a comeback two months later that year, he is set to don the classic blue and white stripes when Argentina takes on Venezuela in a friendly on Saturday.

Messi will be make his 129th appearance for La Albiceleste and it will also be the first time he plays under Scaloni, who was his teammate at the 2006 World Cup.

Here's a lowdown on Messi's Argentina career thus far:

10: Jersey number

128: Appearances for Argentina

65: Goals for Argentina and the leading goal-scorer for the country

47: Seconds into his Argentina debut before he was sent off, against Hungary in 2005, aged 18, after coming on as a substitute

2008: Olympic gold in Beijing is Messi's only major honour with Argentina

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