After controversially retiring from international football following the loss against Chile in the Copa America Centenario final, Lionel Messi has turned around and returned to the Argentine national team. The 5-time Ballon D’or winner has seemingly changed his mind and will once again dawn the blue and white of Argentina.
In a statement issued by the Argentine Football Association, Messi revealed his intention to come back to the national team and help them overcome their numerous internal problems. “I see that there are a lot of problems in Argentina football and I don’t want to create more. I don’t want to cause harm, on the contrary, my goal was to help in any way I could,” said Messi. “There are many things that need to be fixed in Argentine football. But I prefer to help from inside rather than stand on the outside and criticize. A lot of things ran through my head on the day of the [Copa America] final. And I seriously considered leaving the team. But I love my shirt and my country too much. I want to thank all the fans who wanted me to keep playing for Argentina. I hope we can give them joy very soon.”
Messi came to this decision after meeting with new Argentina head coach Edgardo Buaza in Spain. The two reportedly met with Buaza looking to convince the Barcelona legend to come back to the Argentine team.
However, Buaza insisted that he did not pressure Messi and claimed that the two only spoke about football. “We didn’t speak about his return. We just had a little talk about football. I’ll be calling him in a few days,” Buaza said. “There is no doubt in my mind that he wants to return to play for the national team. I saw him with a great desire to return.”
With the deadline for submitting their World Cup Qualifying squad coming today, Messi’s decision comes just in time for Argentina. While qualifying likely won’t be too much of problem for the Albiceleste, the addition of Messi will certainly make things a lot easier for Edgardo Buaza.