Lionel Messi urged to retire as Argentina on brink of early 2018 FIFA World Cup elimination in Russia
Posted: 22 June 2018 Time: 12:30
Lionel Messi has been urged to retire from the Argentina national team after his subdued performances within a dismal 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign.
Messi, 30, is widely considered as one of the greatest players of all time but his inability to help the South American giants to international honours during their course of his illustrious career has often been subjected to scrutiny.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner retired before, after losing in three consecutive finals (2014 World Cup, 2016, 2016 Copa America) but was convinced to return for the challenge of leading his country to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
While he single-handedly dragged La Albiceleste to qualification in Russia, with seven goals, which included a hattrick in their final CONMEBOL fixture against Ecuador - he has been unable to replicate that sort of form in Group D at this years' global showpiece.
A missed penlaty in the 1-1 draw to Iceland and only one shot at goal in the 3-0 defeat to Crotaia last night has seen critcism directed towards the current squad and head coach Jorge Sampaoli.
But respected Argentine journalists Fernando Niembro's believes Messi has too much control over the national team, including picking who he wants, while he is unable to deliver like he does for Barcelona.
"Messi owns the Argentina team," he said, as quoted by Marca.
"He is the coach of the Argentina team and what he decided to do is play his friend and this is the result of putting your friends. A weak team, a team that isn't what it can be, a team without heart.
"Messi we asked for heart. You are the best player, when a team fails what you ask of the best player is that you dig deep and you couldn't even do that.
"Enough of Mascherano, your friend, enough from Sampaoli and his contradictions, enough of putting pressure, enough of taking control without a plan. And the truth, once Messi walked away from the Argentina team, and it wouldn't be bad if he thought about it again."