Messi rejoins Argentina for love of country

Ross Houston
August 14, 2016

Lionel Messi has reversed his decision to retire from the Argentinean national team.

'I don't want to cause any damage, I've always tried to do just the opposite, to help all that I can.

Tottenham's Erik Lamela made it seven Premier League players in total, with Messi's Barcelona team-mate Javier Mascherano also among the 27-man squad.

Messi, Argentina's captain and record goalscorer with 55, said in a statement reproduced by Argentinian newspaper La Nación: "I see there are many problems in Argentinian football and I don't intend to create another one".

The Barcelona midfielder announced immediately after his country's penalty shootout loss to Chile in the Copa America final in June that he was calling time on his Argentina career to an end. Speaking about his differences with the Argentine Football Federation, which was the main reason behind him announcing retirement, Messi said, "There are many things that need to be fixed in Argentine football". And I seriously considered leaving the team.

"A lot of things went through my mind on the night of the final and I gave serious thought to quitting but my love for my country and this shirt is too great", the player said.

"I'd like to thank all those people who want me to continue playing for Argentina, I hope we can give them all something to cheer about soon". Many assumed heartbreak at losing and frustration with Argentina's Football Federation were behind his sudden departure at age 29.

Messi is often compared to past greats Pele and Diego Maradona amid the five-time World Footballer of the Year ongoing battle with Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo for modern day supremacy.

A meeting Messi had this week with newly appointed Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza reportedly sealed his return to global duty, Sports Illustrated reported, citing Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo.

Messi is named in new coach Edgardo Bauza's squad alongside Manchester City trio Sergio Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta and Nicolas Otamendi.

And with the return of Argentina's all-time leading goal scorer, the South American country and soccer fans around the world breathe a sigh of relief.

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