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ARGENTINA

Argentina coach aims to bring Messi back out of retirement

New Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza will fly to Barcelona this week in a bid to persuade Lionel Messi to go back on his decision to retire from international football

New coach of the Argentina national side, Edgardo Bauza, has said that the country can’t allow itself to play without star-player Lionel Messi, and will travel to Spain in the next few days to talk to the Barcelona striker and get an idea of “how he’s feeling”.

“He’s too important a player for the team to miss,” said the 58-year old. “Argentina can’t give itself the privilege of not counting on him. What we’re going to do is talk to him to see if he’ll change his mind.”

Mission: bring back Messi

Bauza, who is to continue his job as manager of Sao Paulo as well as take charge of Argentina, outlined that persuading Messi to return to the national fold is his “priority”. “He’s the captain of the team and the most important player in the world…so it’s obvious if we can count in him, it’ll help us a lot.”

The former Rosario defender revealed he will make the trip to Catalonia later this week to try and convince Messi to return after the player announced his retirement in June following Argentina's Copa América final penalty-shootout defeat to Chile (for the second consecutive tournament).

"We're going to talk about football"

“We’re going to talk about football. I want to know how he feels, how he felt in that moment (his retirement decision) and what happened for him to arrive at that conclusion. I want to talk about all that, tell him my ideas (for the team), and after we’ve chatted, see if he has the desire to come back.”

Bauza has less than a month to work on his strategy for the national side, as on 1 September Argentina will play Uruguay in a World Cup 2018 qualifier and visit Venezuela a few days later.