Argentina captain Lionel Messi has decided to step down from international football until further notice, confirmed on Tuesday.
Messi is likely to play for Argentina again in 2019.
Before the FIFA World Cup 2018, in a press conference, Lionel Messi said his future with Argentina depends on the outcome of the World Cup. After their exit in the round of 16 against France, Messi didn’t speak about the same.
After one month, the Argentine captain finally broke his silence. He said he will not rejoin the Argentina national team this September for friendlies against Guatemala and Colombia and is unlikely to play again in what remains of 2018.
The interim manager, Lionel Scaloni informed he wouldn’t be available for the upcoming games in the United States and he didn’t confirm when he will play again for the national team or if he intends to come back for the 2019 Copa America.
The 31-year old Messi failed to live up to the expectations of the Argentine fans in the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. He was heavily criticised for the failure of Argentina.
Jorge Sampoali, who was the coach during the World Cup also had too many expectations from Lionel Messi. As a result, all of his tactics were all around Messi, and it backfired the side.
However, Messi is off to fresh start with his club Barcelona. He won his first trophy with the Spanish club as official captain after beating Sevilla in the Spanish Super Cup.
Messi and Barcelona will take on Boca Juniors on Wednesday for the Joan Gamper trophy. His former Argentine team-mate Carlos Tevez also plays for Boca Juniors, and they are all set to clash against each other. Tevez said ahead of the friendly match,
“I think we should all leave him to make his own mind and make the decision that will make him happy. The best decision both for him and his family. Surely if he feels happy and decides to re-join the national team is because he has the support of his family and he wants to do it. If this isn’t the case, then it would be useless for him to stay and do something he has no motivation for.”