He is often regarded as one of the greatest athletes in the world, but it looks like Lionel Messi is set to retire from international football. According to TNT Sports: the Barcelona star will not feature for Argentina for the rest of the calendar year. He will then make a decision on whether he will return next year.
This would not be the first time that the Argentinian striker has potentially retired. Back in 2016, Messi announced his departure from international football, much to the sadness of his beloved fans. So much so, various campaigns began urging him to rethink his retirement. Even the Argentinian President, Mauricio Macri commented: “We are lucky, it is one of life’s pleasures, it is a gift from God to have the best player in the world in a footballing country like ours… Lionel Messi is the greatest thing we have in Argentina and we must take care of him”. One week later, Messi reversed his decision and in an interview with DirectTV Sports, said: “[Retiring] was a decision I made in the heat of the moment, but I was embarrassed to say that I wanted to come back.” The five time Ballon D’or winner would go on to lead his team to the 16th round of the 2018 World Cup tournament in Moscow, where they were eliminated following a 4-3 loss to future-champions France.
The 31 year-old kicked off his international career in 2005, playing 128 matches for his country and being recognized as Argentina’s all-time leading goal scorer, netting an impressive 65 goals. With a glittering international career to date and four World Cups under his belt, it yet remains to be seen if the footballing legend will return to the international game.