World Cup 2018: Argentina federation boss asked Messi to play less at Barcelona

When it comes to the 2018 World Cup, Argentina is likely to go as Lionel Messi goes. If he is at the top of his game, there is no reason why Argentina can't get back to the final and win it. If he isn't performing well, the team has absolutely no chance.

For that reason, the president of the Argentine soccer federation (AFA) wants to make sure Messi is in top form by the time the tournament starts -- no matter what it takes. 

Speaking to TyC Sports in Argentina, Claudio Tapia said he wants Messi to not play so much with his club. 

"We talked to Messi about taking care of himself and for him to play less at Barcelona," Tapia said.

Wishful thinking, Claudio. Barcelona is first in La Liga, in the final of the Copa del Rey and is once again a contender to win the Champions League. With the treble still up for grabs, Messi playing less makes no sense for Barcelona. The only time it would even be a possibility would be late in the season if Barca has La Liga wrapped up, but chances are Barcelona won't want to risk anything by not playing him. 

The risk of getting hurt before the World Cup is one all players take and we enter murky territory any time federations attempt to intervene with the way clubs use their players. Tapia is just going to have to hope the injury bug stays far away from Messi. But you never know unless you ask, right? 

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CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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