Lionel Messi: Argentina team-mates speak out against Barcelona star’s possible retirement

Posted Saturday, September 08, 2018 by

Lionel Messi: Argentina team-mates speak out against Barcelona star’s possible retirement
Lionel Messi: Argentina will try and coax the Barcelona player back to the international scene (Image: GETTY)

LIONEL MESSI could snub international retirement if the ‘project’ at Argentina appeals.

That is according to Argentina’s interim coach Lionel Scaloni, who is in charge until a new boss can be properly installed.

Messi has opted to spend time away from the Argentina national team and will not play for them during this international break.

The Barcelona star may decide to quit international football altogether - a decision he has already made once, only to be brought back into the Argentina fold.

Argentina play Guatemala in a friendly on Saturday morning (4am BST) and then travel to Colombia next Wednesday.

Messi is not part of the squad but Scaloni and a number of the Argentina players hope he will join up soon.

“We miss him. But we have to let him be, in peace,” Scaloni told TyC Sports.

“He has to enjoy his family, his life. We shall see what happens later.

“Once we have a project, a name (for a new permanent manager), we will see what Leo thinks.”

Team-mate Mauro Icardi said of Messi’s absence: "It's weird, but it's good that Lionel Messi takes a break even if people do not take it well. We talked and tried in training, but I lacked time to find a perfect partnership with him. He is the number one in the world.”

And Ajax star Nicolas Tagliafico said: “It is rare to come here and that Messi is not with us. "The most important competition we have is next year (the Copa America), so it's good to get to know new colleagues.”

Independiente striker Max Mesa said: "He took a well-deserved break, but hopefully he will return soon for the good of us and the one of the squad.

"Messi is a very important player, even beyond football, he took a well deserved break and now we have to wait for his return, he loves Argentina and wants to achieve important things with the team.”

Jorge Sampaoli quit as Argentina manager after the World Cup and former national coach Alejandro Sabella - who guided the country to the 2014 World Cup final - could return to the side.

Diego Maradona has talked up his own chances of getting the post, while Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone has been tipped.

River Plate manager Marcelo Gallardo is also supposedly in the running but Argentina are in no rush to confirm their next boss.

As for Lionel Messi, he spoke about potentially retiring from Argentina duty once their exploits in Russia this summer were over.

"I don't know. It will depend how we do, how it ends," he said in June.

"The fact we've lost three finals now has led to some complicated moments with the Argentine press due to the differences in seeing what it means to reach a final.

"It is not easy and [reaching three finals] has to be appreciated.

"It's true that winning them is important, but getting there is not easy."

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