FIFA World Cup 2018: Lionel Messi Nearing International Retirement – Pablo Zabaleta
Former Argentina defender, Pablo Zabaleta believes Lionel Messi could retire from international football after the FIFA World Cup 2018.
After Argentina’s shambolic display against Croatia on Thursday night, Zabaleta thinks its likely to happen so.
Argentina’s World Cup hopes in Russia are hanging by a thread following a humiliating 3-0 loss to Croatia.
After drawing with Iceland in their opening game of the tournament, Argentina now needs to beat Nigeria in their final Group D fixture to have any chance of reaching the last 16.
Zabaleta was stunned by his country’s performance against Croatia. He feels the chance to win a major international tournament may now have passed Messi.
Messi previously retired from international football two years ago before performing a U-turn. And, before the FIFA World Cup 2018, he said his future depends on the outcome of the mega event in Russia.
Zabaleta told BBC,
“I just feel so sorry for Lionel Messi; This was his last chance to win something with Argentina – so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him retire from international football after this. He’ll be so disappointed, and it’s another four years until Qatar.”
“The people in Argentina will be so angry now. You expect more from those players. They were so close to winning it in Brazil then they lost two Copa Americas in a row. The people in Argentina are so hungry for this World Cup, and they will not accept this,” he added.
Zabaleta also expressed he has never seen Argentina perform like this,
“I’ve never seen a performance like this by Argentina. Never before. There was a lack of spirit, and it’s very strange to see. In the second half, we weren’t good enough. I think after the Willy Caballero mistake it was mentally very difficult for the players to come back and win the game.”
Argentina will play their last group stage game against Nigeria on 27 June.
Saif Ahmed Chowdhury
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