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Lionel Messi Will Eventually Play for Argentina Again: AFA President

Since getting eliminated at the Round of 16 stage against eventual champions France at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Argentina football team has been without their star player Lionel Messi, who is believed to be contemplating the road ahead with regards to continuing with the national team.

News18 Sports

Updated:September 25, 2018, 2:16 PM IST
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Lionel Messi Will Eventually Play for Argentina Again: AFA President
Lionel Messi (Picture Credit: Getty Images)
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Since getting eliminated at the Round of 16 stage against eventual champions France at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Argentina football team has been without their star player Lionel Messi, who is believed to be contemplating the road ahead with regards to continuing with the national team.

Argentina FA president Claudio Tapia, according to a report in ESPN, is confident that Messi will be back and playing for his national team soon. While interim coach Lionel Scaloni has made it clear that won't call the Barcelona star up to his latest squad.

"I have no doubts that he will return to play [with the national team]," Tapia told TyC Sports. "We have to let him be and give him the time he needs. We have to continue the way we are.

"I'm completely calm, knowing that he, more than anyone, loves the national team jersey. I don't put a time to his return. We have to let things flow and it will happen when it has to happen. We cannot be hasty."

The left footed magician has already missed the games against Guatemala and Colombia, and is also set to the miss the friendlies against Saudi Arabia and Brazil in October.

Messi, 31, has scored 65 goals in 128 appearances since making his debut with Argentina in August 2005. With him in the team, Argentina have been part of four World Cups and four Copa Americas, and are yet to win a single trophy and have lost three finals in those eight competitions.

According to Tapia, who in July had said that Argentina need Messi to play for financial reasons apart from footballing ones, believes the skipper was under too much pressure ahead of the World Cup earlier in the year.

"We made him responsible to be world champion, but football is a team sport and is difficult," Tapia said.

"He took charge in situations where players shouldn't. We just have to continue as we are."

The Argentina squad for the October friendlies is expected to be named this week and Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi and Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel Di Maria are likely to return.

"I spoke with him [Messi] and we continue to think it's the best that he doesn't come, he won't be called," Scaloni told Fox Sports at FIFA's The Best gala on Monday.

"We are in a different stage and these group of young players have to keep wearing the Argentina shirt to see what they can do, that's the most important thing."
| Edited by: Shayne Dias
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