Lionel Messi ends retirement, called in for Argentina's next World Cup qualifiers
Lionel Messi has reconsidered international retirement and is returning to the Argentina national team, the soccer star announced Friday, and he was promptly called back into the squad by manager Edgardo Bauza for World Cup qualifiers next month.
Messi announced he would retire from the team immediately after Argentina lost the Copa America final to Chile in June. Messi has never won a major senior international trophy with his home country, and 2016 was the third straight year Argentina lost in a major final. He has since reconsidered, returning to a program that has seen a number of veteran players say they are stepping away. Argentina's highly touted U-23 side also was eliminated from the Olympics in the group stage.
“I don't want to create one more problem to Argentinian football,” Messi said in the statement declaring his return.
Messi agreed to return to the national team after a meeting with Bauza in Spain this week, reports Mundo Deportivo.
Messi will play for Argentina against Uruguay and Venezuela on September 1 and 6. Bauza revealed his roster for the matches on Friday.
Argentina's roster does not include the likes of Gonzalo Higuain or Ezequiel Lavezzi, but it does have attacking stars Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria, Paulo Dybala and midfield veteran Javier Mascherano in addition to the return of its captain and nation's all-time leading scorer, Messi.