The president of the Argentina Football Association believes that Lionel Messi will eventually return to play for his country
The president of the Argentina Football Association (AFA) believes that Lionel Messi will eventually return to play for his country, despite the forward declaring himself unavailable for selection for the foreseeable future.
Recent reports from Argentinian outlet Clarin suggested that Messi had informed Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni that he does not wish to be selected for international duty, failing to confirm whether he will ever return to the side. These reports were proven to be correct as Messi has been left out of the squad to face Iraq and Brazil next month.
Despite Messi's absence, AFA president Claudio Tapia remains confident that the Barcelona star will return to play for the international side once again. He told TyC Sports: "I have no doubts that he will return to play [with the national team].
"We have to let him be and give him the time he needs. We have to continue the way we are.
"I'm completely calm, knowing that he, more than anyone, loves the national team jersey. I don't put a time to his return. We have to let things flow and it will happen when it has to happen. We cannot be hasty."
Messi is believed to have grown frustrated with Argentina's failings at the World Cup this summer, and Tapia believes his star man was under too much pressure heading into the tournament. He said: "We made him responsible to be world champion, but football is a team sport and is difficult.
"He took charge in situations where players shouldn't. We just have to continue as we are."
Scaloni confirmed that he spoke with Messi ahead of announcing his squad, revealing both parties believed Messi should not be involved. Speaking to Fox Sports, Scaloni said: "I spoke with him [Messi] and we continue to think it's the best that he doesn't come, he won't be called.
"We are in a different stage and these group of young players have to keep wearing the Argentina shirt to see what they can do, that's the most important thing."
Since making his Argentina debut in 2005, Messi has netted an impressive 65 goals in 128 appearances for his country.