Lionel Messi announces Argentina return
Lionel Messi has announced that he will play for Argentina once again, having stated in June that he would retire from international football.
The Barcelona star said Friday that although he was disappointed after losing the Copa America final to Chile on penalties, he was keen to help Argentinian football from the inside rather than criticize from outside.
“Many things went through my head on the day of the final and I thought seriously about leaving it but I love my country and this shirt too much,” he said in a statement released through his management company and tweeted by the Argentinian Football Association.
“I see that there are a lot of problems in Argentine football and I’m not trying to create another one. I don’t want to cause any harm. I have always tried to do the opposite, to help in any way that I can.”
Messi was subsequently announced in Argentina’s squad for September’s World Cup 2018 qualifiers against Uruguay and Venezuela.
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Argentina’s record goalscorer is widely regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, player of all time. He has won the European Champions League on four occasions with Barcelona and has eight Spanish La Liga championship.
But Messi has only one major honor to his name with his national team, winning gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The 28-year-old was on the the losing side of Copa America finals in 2007, 2015 and 2016, while he also captained Argentina to the World Cup final in 2014 where it was narrowly defeated by Germany.
His great rival Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, won his first international title in July when Portugal triumphed at the Euro 2016 finals.