Football

Lionel Messi retired for a matter of weeks..

Edgardo Bauza reveals how he coaxed Lionel Messi into Argentina return

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Lionel Messi's retirement from international football may have only lasted a couple of months but his shock announcement is still capturing the imagination of fans across the globe.

Messi was so heartbroken by Argentina's failure to win the Copa America, he announced he would no longer make himself available for selection in the immediate aftermath.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner had been the loser in four major finals in his otherwise glittering career, three of which came in the last three summers. They narrowly missed out on the World Cup to Germany in 2014 while Chile beat them to the Copa America in both 2015 and 2016.

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As one of the best players the world has ever seen, much of the anger and disappointment has landed squarely on Messi with the harshest of critics accusing him of championing his Barcelona duties over that of his country.

But the national outcry that poured his way after the decision served to remind him just how much he is valued by his home country. That, coupled with a lengthy discussion with new head coach Edgardo Bauza, appears to have won him round.

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Winning him over

Bauza has revealed how he arranged a meeting with Messi over the summer holidays and eventually convinced him to come back into the international fray.

Speaking to La Nacion, he said: "I went [to speak to Messi] not to convince him, I went to talk football.

"We were talking about football for almost two hours and, naturally, it came out [from him] that he would be on the list.

"I told him that in Argentina there are 100 idiots, who speak and criticise, but I told him that people want much, and if you are still listening to 100 idiots who criticise, you would go crazy.

"Then came this statement, which I found very natural, and that tells you about his desire to be in the selection and win something with the national team."

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New position, more support

The 2018 World Cup in Russia will be Messi's next chance to win a major honour with his country but to do that Bauza has admitted he needs to find a way to get the very best out of him.

He believes his teammates need to provide him with greater support and also suggested he could play him in any one of three positions in the future.

He continued: "Having the best in the world does not guarantee you’ll win the game, but you are guaranteed a great threat to the opponent. We need to better take advantage of Messi.

"I imagine him in two or three positions, something we already talked about with him, but let’s see. It depends on the team.

"He has that pressure naturally by who he is. And he knows it. We all know that when the ball goes through him, he can make something different happen. But we need help from the team."

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Topics:
Luis Suarez
Football
World Cup
Lionel Messi
Sergio Aguero
Barcelona
Argentina Football

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