The 31-year-old Barcelona star hasn’t pulled on the light blue and white national team jersey since Argentina were dumped out of the World Cup last June by eventual winners France.
Another long-term absentee, PSG’s Angel Di Maria, also makes the squad, but there is no place for other veterans Sergio Aguero – despite his sparkling form for Manchester City –Chelsea’s Gonzalo Higuain or Mauro Icardi of Inter.
“The World Cup was a big disappointment for everyone, for him even more so,” Scaloni told reporters at Argentina’s Ezeiza training center outside Buenos Aires.
“And then in the friendlies he saw us play, he liked it, and he wants to try again, and he’s welcome.”
Scaloni said, “Messi prefers to come than to rest,” despite the demands of a heavy fixture list for his club.
“Leo is being called up now, and then we’ll see if he plays a match or two –or none. I don’t know. That’s a decision I’ll take.”
In all, Messi has missed six friendlies since the World Cup in Russia but many believe he will be an essential part of the team that travels to Brazil for the Copa America, which kicks off June 14.