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Messi friendship is not behind Icardi's Argentina exile, says Maxi Lopez

Goal.com logo Goal.com 11-04-2017

Maxi Lopez has denied that his friendship with Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano has caused former team-mate Mauro Icardi to be frozen out of the Argentina team.

Icardi, 24, has played just one official game for the Albiceleste, in a World Cup qualifier against Uruguay way back in 2013.

Since then he has not been included in a single Argentina squad, in a spell that coincides with his relationship with Lopez's ex-partner, Wanda Nara.

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Many have speculated that Icardi's place in the national team has been vetoed by senior Argentina figures, including Messi and Mascherano, due to the pair's tight bond with the former Barcelona striker.

But Lopez has affirmed that such rumours are nonsense, while making it clear that he would not forgive either Icardi nor Nara for the "betrayal".

"I made all the arrangements for my son to meet Messi, but my ex never brought him over," the Torino forward told Radio La Red.

"I am trying to be an example to my children. If I never did anything bad to Icardi it was so my children would not suffer the next day.

"I am pissed off for my children and I get pissed off when it's said that because Messi and Masche are my mates, Icardi isn't in the national team."

Referring to the photograph Messi and Mascherano shared with the veteran, Lopez played down its significance.

"I have no social network accounts, I don't like them and I don't enjoy them," he said.

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"The story of the photo is pretty private, but I understand the media game and there is no scandal with the Argentina team.

"I have not been to Barcelona since 2007, when I played in Mallorca. I have not spoken to Messi, Masche or Iniesta in 10 years."

One powerful ally for Maxi is Diego Maradona, who has slammed Icardi publically on more than one occasion.

"For me what Diego Maradona says is gospel," he fired, after the 1986 World Cup winner had opined that "Traitors should not be called up for the national team."

"Icardi was a team-mate of mine. I gave him a hand, as I am doing now with [Lucas] Boye."

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