Lionel Messi scores on return for Argentina against Uruguay

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Lionel Messi made his first appearance for Argentina since announcing his retirement in July and obviously seemed intent on making up for lost time.

That is despite the fact that the Abliceleste didn't actually play a game in between the Copa America final, which they lost to Chile, and this arguably crucial World Cup qualifier.

Uruguay were topping the South American qualifying group with 13 points but as many as five teams were within four points of them. Argentina were one of those teams and needed a win to take charge.

And when a country has Messi in its side, there is always the chance that they will eventually rise to the top. It was the diminutive attacker who became the hero of the evening, scoring a fine strike in the 43rd minute to give a 10-man Argentina the win.

The strike, which was deflected off Uruguay defender Jose Maria Gimenez, was hardly the cleanest the Barcelona star has ever hit, but his heel flick to set up the opportunity was a thing of beauty.

Seemingly out of sheer respect, as many as five opposing defenders can be seen standing around Messi before he lets rip. Take a look at the strike below and just look at the relief on his face.

Reverse angle

No deception

As previously, Messi did not miss one game for Argentina despite officially being retired for as long as two months. While the nation were happy to have him back, he was still asked to explain his course of action when facing the press.

Many have theorised that he retired with the intention of silencing his critics and to make sure the fans they don't take his supreme talent for granted. Messi, of course, rejected this claim.

"I am very grateful [to return to the national team]," Messi told TV Publica. "But I did not deceive anybody when I retired.

"We were very disappointed with what had happened, but after that I thought better. I had a conversation with the Paton [Bauza] and the people as well accompanied me through it."

Playing through injury

It appears Messi played through the pain barrier in Buenos Aires on Thursday night. Barcelona raised doubts over whether he would be fit after publically confirming he had suffered a hamstring injury against Athletic Bilbao. While he was obviously fit enough to play last night, the same can't be said for Argentina's next qualifier against Venezuela.

"I don't know if I will play against Venezuela," he said. "I have a lot of pain in my groin, but I wanted to be here after the disturbance I caused."

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Luis Suarez
World Cup
Lionel Messi
Sergio Aguero
Argentina Football
Gonzalo Higuain

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