Diego Maradona pleads with Lionel Messi not to retire from international football after Argentina’s Copa America heartbreak
- Diego Maradona tells Lionel Messi to continue playing for Argentina
- Messi revealed that he would be retiring from international football following his and the country’s fourth consecutive tournament final loss
- The Barcelona man became Argentina’s all-time top scorer
- Maradona believes Messi can lead a fresh, hungry group to glory in 2018
Diego Maradona has pleaded with Lionel Messi not to go through with his retirement from international football, following Argentina’s Copa America Centenario final loss to Chile.
After losing his fourth final for his country – after the World Cup two years ago and the Copa America in 2007 and 2015 – an emotional Messi said: ‘That’s it. It’s over for me with the national team.’
The post-match revelations made waves across the world but Maradona has decided to speak out publicly in an attempt to persuade the Barcelona man to think carefully about his future.
Lionel Messi says the Copa America defeat by Chile will be his last game for Argentina
Messi blazed his penalty over the bar in the shootout as Chile claimed the title
Diego Maradona, pictured with Messi in 2010, has spoken out and urged the Barcelona man not to walk away
MESSI’S ARGENTINA CAREER
Debut: August, 18 2005 vs Hungary
Honours: 1 – Olympic Gold Medal (2008)
Maradona, regarded as one of the all-time footballing greats, has called on Messi, whom he coached during his time as national team boss between 2008 and 2010, to play on at the 2018 World Cup.
‘Messi has to stay in the national team. He will go to Russia in form to be world champion,’ Maradona told Argentine daily La Nacion.
‘He has to rely more on boys who can help take the team forward and less on those who say they have to go.
‘Those who are saying he should quit are doing it so that we won’t see what a disaster Argentine football has become.’
Messi’s plan to retire comes as the Argentine Football Association (AFA) implodes.
With the AFA’s presidential election marred by controversy and uncertainty, Maradona added: ‘I am very sorry and very angry with what is happening to Argentine football.
‘We hit bottom, we reached the bottom.’
Argentina’s Copa America Centenario defeat by Chile was Messi’s fourth consecutive final loss for his country