Maradona asks Lionel Messi to not retire from Argentina
Diego Maradona hopes Lionel Messi is not done playing for the Argentina national team after the Barcelona star missed a penalty kick in the Copa America Centenario final against Chile on Sunday.
“Messi must carry on in the national team ... because he still has a lot to give, because he’ll get to [the 2018 World Cup hosts] Russia with chances of being world champion,” Maradona told La Nacion newspaper. “He has to lean more on the lads who can help him take the team forward and less on those who say he should leave.”
After the game, Messi told reporters that he was leaving the national team.
Maradona, the Argentina captain in the country's 1986 World Cup win, coached Messi and the Argentina national team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Messi has never won a World Cup title and has fallen short in two straight Copa America finals.
Maradona instead has put the blame on Argentina's football federation, which is embroiled in a corruption scandal.
"Those who are saying he should quit are doing it so that we won't see what a disaster Argentine football has become," Maradona said.