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Argentina coach Bauza is in Barcelona, hoping to woo Messi

Recently-appointed Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza arrives in Barcelona on Tuesday on a mission to convince Leo Messi to reconsider returning with the national team.

Argentina coach Bauza is in Barcelona, hoping to woo Messi
GUSTAVO ORTIZ DIARIO AS

Come back Messi

Recently-appointed Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza has arrived in Barcelona on Tuesday on a mission to convince Leo Messi to reverse his decision to retire from international football and return to the national team.

Bauza, who started the job on 1 August, left Buenos Aires on Monday night on a Barcelona-bound flight. The 58-year-old coach says his number one task is convincing the five-time Ballon d'Or winner  to return to a national team where he has endured a string of disappointing losses in major tournaments.

Messi, 29, abruptly announced his international retirement on 26 June, after Argentina lost the Copa America final to Chile.

The Barcelona star, who missed a crucial penalty, left the pitch in tears after the match, saying: “For me, the national team is over”.

But Bauza, who formerly coached Brazilian club São Paulo, has said he is optimistic he can get him to change his mind. “I hope that the chat I'd like to have with him will help convince him to stay with the team”, he told Fox Sports a day after landing the job, saying he had only ever imagined coaching the team with Messi part of it.

Bauza, who took over from Gerardo Martino, is due to announce his squad on Friday for Argentina's upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifiers. The Albiceleste meet Uruguay on 1 September and Venezuela in Mérida five days later.