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Argentina coach says Lionel Messi will be playing in Copa America 2016

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In case you were waiting to commit a rather significant amount of money to buying the three-match pass to the CenturyLink Field Copa America games until there was confirmation that Lionel Messi would be playing, that time has apparently arrived. Argentina's coach Gerardo Martino told a radio station that Messi would be skipping the 2016 Summer Olympics -- where he could have competed as an overage player -- in order to focus on the Copa America and World Cup qualifying.

It has long been assumed that Messi and his high-profile Argentina teammates would be playing in the Copa America Centenario as it is on the official FIFA calendar. While United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann has made it clear he will put a heavy emphasis on the tournament, there have also been understandable doubts as to how seriously the players or even countries are planning to take it.

This comment, however, suggests Argentina will at least be considering this to be among the more important summer dates.