Lionel Messi: Argentina coach drops hint on Barcelona star’s international future

Lionel Messi: Argentina coach drops hint on Barcelona star’s international future

07 August 2018 Tuesday 09:18
Lionel Messi: Argentina coach drops hint on Barcelona star’s international future

ARGENTINA interim coach Lionel Scaloni has dropped a hint on whether Lionel Messi will retire from international football.

Lionel Messi's Argentina future remains in doubt (Image: GETTY)

There has been speculation regarding Messi’s international future since Argentina were dumped out of the World Cup.

The South American nation scraped through the group stages before being dispatched by eventual winners France in the last-16.

Messi netted just once in Russia as Argentina suffered World Cup heartache again having been runners-up four years ago.

They also finished second at the Copa America in 2015 and 2016 meaning Messi’s only international trophy is a gold medal from the 2008 Olympics.

The 31-year-old is yet to discuss his international future having previously hung up his Argentina boots in June 2016.

Lionel Messi worked with Lionel Scaloni when he was Argentina's assistant (Image: GETTY)

He returned just months later but could now be set to stick to club football at the age of 31.

Argentina face Guatemala and Colombia in friendlies next month with a squad needing to be named by August 19.

And Scaloni, who is filling in following the departure of Jorge Sampaoli, has admitted he’s still in limbo regarding Messi.

"We don't have the squad list made, not even a small percentage of it," Scaloni said. "I don't think this is the time to call Lionel [Messi].

"Once we have to name the squad, we will see what we do. I honestly know him [Messi] well and I'm not worried about having to talk to him.

“We want to treat him in a way that he truly knows that there is a respect there and that we are most certainly going to treat him as he deserves. That is the most important thing of all."

Argentina strongly relied on Messi in order to qualify for the World Cup with the Barcelona man netting seven goals in the qualifiers.

Angel Di Maria, Gabriel Mercado and Lucas Pratto were next for Argentina with two apiece showing the dependence on Messi.

And former Argentina midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron believes the South Americans need to stop relying on Messi.

"It's time to build a group," Veron told ESPN Argentina.

"Obviously, if Leo is eager [to be part of the national team], they would need to involve him little by little.

"I think we have to prepare the base and once and for all think about a team and not think about someone who can save us.

“Even more at this time, watching other national teams and how they faced the World Cup, it seems essential to think about a group."

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