Diego Maradona jumped to the defence of Messi after the Barça star said that he would retire from international football following Argentina's loss in a second consecutive Copa América final – both to Chile.
Maradona, considered to be Argentina's greatest player in history, acknowledged that Messi, 29, felt alone and that he would speak to him to try and get him to reconsider his decision.
"Messi has to continue with the national team because he has more to give and can go to Russia and become world champion," the legendary player, who captained Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title and coached them at the 2010 World Cup, told La Nacion.
However, Maradona also talked about the support between Messi and his teammates.
"He has to rely more on the guys who can help him to take the team forward and less on those who say he has to go. Put aside those who won't even let him cry. They don't play and they don't let him mourn. Because those who say that he has to go do it so that we don't see the disaster that is Argentine football."
Maradona regrets that Messi has been left somewhat alone and will fight for him.
"They have left Messi alone and I don't want to see him alone. For this reason I want to talk with him, to fight against all those that have left him. From the first to the last leader."
Ironically Maradona had prior to the final of the Copa América said to the team, "if you don't win, don't come back".
He has also often taken potshots at Messi including criticising him on the eve of the tournament for a perceived lack of personality. "He's a really good person, but he has no personality," Maradona said in Paris shortly before the start of Euro 2016. "He lacks the character to be a leader."With 1xBet you get High Odds, Fast Payouts, Wide Selection of Sports Events, Online Streaming and Huge Bonuses... sign up now.
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