Leo Messi confirmed on Friday that he would perform a u-turn on his decision to quit the Argentina national football team after the side's loss to Chile in the final of the Copa América Centenario.
"A lot of things went through my mind on the night of the final and I gave serious thought to quitting, but my love for my country and this shirt is too great," he said on Friday in a statement released by his management company.
"A lot of issues in Argentine football"
"There are a lot of issues that need to be resolved in Argentine football, but I prefer to help from within and not to criticize from the outside," Messi's statement continued. "I send my thanks to all of those who want me to continue playing for Argentina. I hope that we'll be able to give them something to cheer about soon."
Messi "very enthusiastic"
New Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza had travelled to Barcelona earlier this week to persuade his captain to change his mind about retiring from international football. Bauza said he was optimistic about Messi making himself available and that the player seemed to be “very enthusiastic.”
“Leo looks to me to be up for it, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I’ll speak to his this afternoon [Friday] on the phone and then complete the squad list,” Bauza said on his arrival at Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza airport. He added that he was in “no doubt that Messi wants to come back.”
Bauza took over the job from Gerardo Martino and was tasked with turning things around ahead of the 2018 World Cup, amid a management crisis at the Argentine Football Association.
Argentina play Uruguay on September 1 and Venezuela on September 6 in qualifying matches for the tournament in Russia in two years' time.
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