Messi: Argentina criticism hurts


The four-time Ballon d'Or winner, who is set to compete in his third World Cup, has earned 83 caps for the Albiceleste.

However, he has previously had to defend himself against claims that he lacks enthusiasm in the national team jersey - an accusation he resents.

Messi told Marca: "I took all the comments: that I showed no desire to play for the national team, that I didn't sing the anthem, that I've no feeling for the shirt. It hurt to come from my country and many unfairly attacked me.

"Argentina is my country, my family, my way of expressing myself. I would change all my record to make the people in my country happy."

The 26-year-old also revealed he turned down an offer to represent Spain at Under-20 level early into his Barca career.

"There were informal contacts to see if I wanted to play for Spain, but I always said I wanted to play for my own team because I love Argentina and I only feel these colours," he added.

"I will always be where the team needs me. Aside from the bad moments, I'm grateful for everything the national team has allowed me to live."