In the space of two months, Lionel Messi has gone from retiring from the Argentina national team to insisting on his return to captain his country once again, despite the fact that Barcelona’s medical staff have recommended that he doesn’t report for international duty owing to some niggling muscle pains.
Messi adamant on return
“The club recommended that he didn’t travel but he said, ‘no, no, I’m going’,” revealed Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza – the man who helped persuade Messi to reverse his decision to retire – on Tuesday.
Little doubt now remains about the Barça forward’s commitment to his country’s cause. After breaking down following Argentina’s dramatic penalty shootout defeat to Chile in the Copa América final in June, Messi announced that he’d no longer play for his national side.
However, having had time to think to think and dust himself off, Messi changed his mind, and has now promised to lead the side as captain until at least the World Cup 2018 in Russia, starting with the game against Uruguay on Thursday (and if he doesn’t aggravate his groin, against Venezuela on 6 September too).
As well as groin pain, Messi also felt a problem with his abductor muscle in his left leg following the game against Athletic on the weekend. Despite undergoing tests on the niggles which returned a worrying enough verdict for Barça’s doctor’s to recommend that Messi stay home and rest during the international break, the striker was adamant on going.