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Messi and Balotelli out of Italy vs. Argentina

August 13, 2013

ROME (AP) — Argentina star Lionel Messi and Italy striker Mario Balotelli will miss the eagerly awaited friendly match between the two countries.

Messi has a thigh injury and has flown back to Barcelona, while Balotelli has a knee problem and doesn’t want to take any risks ahead of AC Milan’s Champions League playoff match against PSV Eindhoven.

Both players returned to their clubs after Tuesday’s meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Italy plays Argentina in Rome on Wednesday — their first encounter since 2001.

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