Messi: I never said I’d quit Argentina

The Barcelona forward has hit out at local media after his Copa America disappointment led to suggestions he would take a break from the international game

Messi: I never said I'd quit Argentina

Lionel Messi has hit out at reports he was set to take a break from international football after failing to lift the Copa America with Argentina earlier this year.

The Barcelona star faced intense criticism from some in the local media after the Albiceleste captain saw his side go down to hosts Chile on penalties in the final, with some going as far as suggesting he take extended leave from the national team.

Argentina coach Gerardo Martino backed the Barcelona forward but admitted he himself would have walked away were he subject to the sort of abuse that was directed at Messi.

“I never said that I wasn’t going to play any longer with the national team,” Messi told ESPN Radio.

“[The media] can’t kill me any more than they already have.

“I am used to them saying these types of things. Now we have friendlies and as long as the coach calls me up I am going to continue to be present.”

Messi, 28, was included in Martino’s squad to face Bolivia and Mexico in the United States next month.

The four-time Ballon d’Or winner has hit 46 goals in 103 internationals, leaving him just 10 strikes behind his country’s all-time top goalscorer, Gabriel Batistuta.

Messi has claimed an Olympic Gold medal and an Under-20 World Cup title but Argentina are without a major trophy at senior level since Copa America 1993.


Liga defenders more interested in selfies with Messi than stopping him – Godin

The Uruguayan centre-half believes the Barcelona superstar faces much stiffer opposition with his national team than he does in the Primera Division

Liga defenders more interested in selfies with Messi than stopping him – Godin

Atletico Madrid and Uruguay defender Diego Godin says Lionel Messi is shown too much respect by his Liga opponents who are more interested in taking selfies with the Barcelona ace than tackling him.

The two clashed in last month’s Copa America, as Argentina saw off Uruguay 1-0 in the group stage before eventually going down on penalties to Chile in the final.

Messi struggled to replicate his sparkling club form in Chile and Godin says that Messi was simply facing better defenders than he’s used to coming across in the Primera Division.

“It’s different in South America. There they mark him a lot more,” Godin told Uruguay television Teledoce.

“Sometimes we mess around, among teammates, and we say: In Spain before playing the games they take a photo with him, a little joke, but it’s the truth.

“People compete a lot more [in South America] and they mark him a lot tighter as well.”

The Atleti stopper went on to explain that he believes a differing styles of Barca and Argentina is the most likely reason for the difference in Messi’s play for club and country.

“[With Argentina] he has to come deeper and he has to break through two lines of players instead of just one, so it is more complicated for him,” Godin said.

“The pitches are different, too. It’s an accumulation of things that mean Messi’s numbers with Barca don’t translate to the national team.”