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7 September, 2018 01:09:42 PM

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Messi 'under no pressure to return for Argentina'

Independent Online Desk
Messi 'under no pressure to return for Argentina'

Argentina Football Association president Claudio Tapia is not going to put any pressure on Lionel Messi to return to the squad, believing the Barcelona forward has given much more to the national team than he has received in return.

Messi, who was under intense scrutiny to perform at this summer's World Cup, has taken an indefinite break from the Albiceleste after captaining them to the round-of-16.

"We have to be thankful," Tapia said of Messi. "He has done a lot for the national team and we have repaid him in the worst possible way."

With Messi unavailable, Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero should take over the Argentina captaincy provided he starts against Guatemala and the game against Colombia in New Jersey four days later.

If he does not, Ajax defender Nicolas Tagliafico is reportedly the number one candidate for the role.

Interim head coach Lionel Scaloni said that Messi's absence will be felt.

"We miss him.

But we have to let him be, in peace. He has to enjoy his family, his life. We shall see what happens later," he told TyC Sports. "Once we have a project, a name [new full-time coach], we will see what Leo thinks."

Argentina will not name a full-time replacement for Jorge Sampaoli, who was sacked after the World Cup, until the new year.

Messi, 31, has scored 65 goals in 128 appearances since making his debut with Argentina in August 2005, but the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has not publicly addressed his international future.

Despite competing in five World Cups and eight Copa Americas, Messi has not won a major trophy with his country.

Messi had said before the World Cup began that his team would need to win "now or never" because there were so many veterans in the team.ESPNFC.

KK

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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