What Lionel Messi is set to do after Javier Mascherano retires from international football

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Argentina crashed out of the World Cup on Saturday after a thrilling 4-3 defeat to France in the Round of 16.

La Albiceleste led at one stage through Gabriel Mercado's 48th-minute goal, but in the end, they simply couldn't contain the phenomenal Kylian Mbappe.

As is often the case at the end of a disappointing campaign, many players' futures at international level are questioned and debated.

When Italy failed to qualify for this World Cup, Gianluigi Buffon, Daniele de Rossi and more called time on their national team careers, and we may see something similar again.

Jorge Sampaoli is under immense pressure, Javier Mascherano and Lucas Biglia have already retired from Argentina duty, but what about Lionel Messi?

Mascherano retires from international football

Shortly after the France loss, Mascherano told reporters, via 101greatgoals: "This story comes to an end. We gave everything until the final (whistle)."

France v Argentina: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

The 34-year-old, who moved to China in January, added: "Now, I’m just another fan of the Argentina team. Hopefully, in the future, these kids will be able to accomplish something."

What about Messi?

The Mirror have reported that Leo Messi is set to retire and walk away from international football now too, without a major championship to his name.

The magical forward's hat-trick against Ecuador fired his country to Russia, where he bagged a goal and two assists in four matches.

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In addition to the heartbreak of losing the 2014 World Cup final to Germany, Messi has also suffered three Copa America final defeats.

Things are still very fresh, and it's worth remembering that Argentina's all-time top scorer reversed his decision to retire from national duty back in 2016.

While Mascherano's retirement is somewhat understandable, the football community would love to see Messi continue to represent Argentina beyond this World Cup.

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When are Messi's next chances of success?

A Copa America will take place in Brazil next summer, with another one in 2020, but by the time the next World Cup in Qatar rolls around at the end of 2022, Messi will be 35-years-old.

That said, surely the ability to lead Argentina to glory in 2019 should inspire the Barcelona icon to stay on for at least a little while yet, as well as inevitable changes.

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Things could be very different for Messi if Sampaoli improves his decision-making and the team is built around young stars like Giovani Lo Celso, Paulo Dybala and Mauro Icardi.

Do YOU think Leo Messi should retire from international football now, or continue at least until the 2019 Copa America? Have YOUR say in the comments box below!

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