Lionel Messi Reportedly Set to Rejoin Argentinian National Team After Retirement

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2016

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JUNE 26: Lionel Messi #10 of Argentina looks on against Chile during the Copa America Centenario Championship match at MetLife Stadium on June 26, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Chile defeated Argentina 4-2 in penalty kicks. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Lionel Messi is reportedly set to return to Argentina's national side after announcing his retirement from international football in June.

According to Argentinian newspaper Diario Ole (h/t Marca), new Argentina boss Edgardo Bauza is set to name the Barcelona star in his first Albiceleste squad on August 15 and will meet him "in the coming week" to confirm he will play.

Messi retired from the international arena following Argentina's penalty-shootout defeat to Chile in the Copa America Centenario final, their third final defeat in as many years.

Bauza said: "I am imagining a national team which includes Messi. We're going to chat and see if he can continue with the commitment he has already shown to the national team."

He added the forward will still captain the side should he end his self-imposed exile from the national side: "He is the captain as he has earned it. I don't see why he wouldn't continue being so."

Messi became La Albiceleste's all-time leading goalscorer during the Copa, with 55 goals, scoring five and assisting four in a series of outstanding displays.

However, he failed to find the net in the final and subsequently missed a penalty in the shootout as Argentina fell at the final hurdle once again.

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Many have urged the 29-year-old to reconsider his early retirement following the announcement, including Argentina legend Diego Maradona and the country's president Mauricio Macri (h/t Goal's Chris Davie).

While Argentina have a wealth of attacking talent to call upon in his absence, including Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala and Mauro Icardi, Messi is something of a talismanic figure for the side and frequently brought the best out of his team-mates at the Copa with his sublime play.

If Bauza can convince him to return to international duty, his tenure in charge of Argentina will have gotten off to an excellent start indeed, one that bodes well for their hopes of finally achieving further success come the 2018 FIFA World Cup.


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