Lionel Messi has announced he will return to play for Argentina, marking a reverse to the painful decision he made in June after the country lost to Chile at the 2016 Copa America finals in the USA.
Image: Lionel Messi
The famous No. 10 was named among players that’ll face Uruguay and Venzuela in 2018 World Cup, South American qualifiers to be held in the first week of September.
Edgardo Bauza who’s Argentina’s new coach had earlier hinted that the Barca forward would return to the national team. Reports confirm the coach visited Messi in Barcelona for discussions before the announcement.
Bauza took over reigns from Gerardo Martino who resigned from the position last July, following Argentina FA’s failure to assemble a strong under-23 team for the Rio Olympics.
Messi revealed on Friday that there’s a lot to be done in the country’s football management, not just on the pitch, and added that he would like to “make more meaningful contributions from within”.
In his words: “I consider there to be a lot of problems in Argentine football and it’s not my intention to create another one.
“There are a lot of issues that need to be resolved in Argentine football but I prefer to help from within and not to criticize from the 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,” the 29-year-old said.
“I send my thanks to all who want me to continue playing for Argentina, I hope we’ll be able to give them something to cheer about soon.”
Image: Lionel Messi
Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Mariano Andujar (Estudiantes), Nahuel Guzman (UANL Tigres)
Defenders: Facundo Roncaglia (Celta Vigo), Mateo Musacchio (Villarreal), Ramiro Funes Mori (Everton), Emmanuel Mas (San Lorenzo), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Martin Demichelis (Espanyol), Pablo Zabaleta, Nicolas Otamendi (both Manchester City), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla)
Midfielders: Matias Kranevitter (Sevilla), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Lucas Biglia(Lazio), Augusto Fernandez, Nicolas Gaitan (both Atletico Madrid), Ever Banega (Inter Milan), Javier Pastore, Angel Di Maria (both Paris St Germain), Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur)
Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid), Lucas Pratto (Atletico Mineiro), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Lucas Alario (River Plate).
Image: Gonzalo Higuain
Gonzalo Higuain didn’t make the squad though Edgardo Bauza had showered praises on the super-striker who recently made a switch from Napoli to Juventus on a world record transfer fee.
There are speculations that the No. 9 may have been ommitted because he doesn’t seem to have luck scoring for Argentina at crucial moments. He missed too many chances in all of Argentina’s last three defeats at finals.