Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has hit back at those who criticise his performances for Argentina, reminding people in his home country that he was part of the team that reached the final of the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 Copa America.
Messi is irritated by Argentina fans who call on him and his teammates to put in more effort, telling them they “don’t feel the shirt”.
The four-time Ballon d’Or winner, who left his home country at the age of 13 in order to join Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, also insists it shouldn’t be an issue if he chooses not to sing Argentina’s national anthem before games.
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"I get annoyed when they tell us put in more effort, you don't feel the shirt,” Messi was quoted as telling TyC Sports by Goal. “We were lucky enough to get to the final of the World Cup and the Copa America and it seems like we didn't do anything. We got to two finals, for f***'s sake.
"We didn't win, what can you do, but we got to the final, we didn't lose in the last-16.
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"Football is not just about effort. We had bad times in the national team for what we experienced. We lost the final of the World Cup against Germany who have great players and we had great chances to win it. With Chile it was the same and we lost on penalties.”
Messi: I don't need to sing national anthem
Messi then moved on to the issue of the national anthem. As Argentina’s captain, some feel the 28-year-old should set an example by signing - but Messi doesn’t agree.
"I get annoyed by the people who attack you without thinking,” the world’s best player added. “I won't sing the national anthem on purpose. I don't need to sing it to feel it.
"It reaches me, every person feels it in their own way. The Pumas cry, they feel it differently and that's ok.
"I play with the national team always as a priority and I want to win everything I play. The Copa America [next summer] is going to be great."
Messi is desperate to win a major trophy with Argentina
Messi has won everything that club football has to offer but it still waiting to secure his first trophy - although he did win an Olympic Gold medal back in 2008 - with La Albiceleste.
The forward has come agonisingly close to winning a major international in each of the previous two summers and will be desperate to win the Copa America - 100 years after the tournament was established - in the United States next summer.
Can Lionel Messi be regarded as the greatest football of all time if he fails to win a major trophy with Argentina? Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below.