Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has overturned his decision to quit international football to announce his return to the Argentina national team ahead of the coming 2018 World Cup qualifying matches.
Argentina plays against Uruguay and Venezuela early in September and Messi’s return is a massive boost to coach Edgardo Bauza’s tenure after being appointed earlier in the month.
Reports in the Argentine media report that the Messi opted to return after careful thought and love for his country, saying he opted to help from within the team rather than criticize from outside.
“A lot of things went through my mind on the night of the final and I gave serious thought to quitting, but my love for my country and this shirt is too great,” Argentina’s all-time record goalscorer is reported as saying.
“We need to fix many things in Argentinian football, but I prefer to do this from inside and not criticize from outside.”
Messi called time on his international career after the loss to Chile in the Copa America final. His only major international honour is Olympic gold at the 2008 Games in Beijing.
He has lost two Copa America finals on penalties to Chile and was in the Argentina side beaten 1-0 by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final.
The five – time Ballon d’Or winner, was also on the losing side against Brazil in the 2007 Copa America final.