Argentine football boss plays down Messi retirement fears

Source: Xinhua| 2018-07-25 07:02:44|Editor: mmm
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BUENOS AIRES, July 24 (Xinhua) -- The president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA), Claudio Tapia, said Tuesday that he believes Lionel Messi will continue to play international football.

The Albiceleste bowed out of football's biggest tournament with a 4-3 loss to France in the round of 16 last month. Messi struggled throughout the competition, scoring just once in four matches and missing a penalty against Iceland.

The 31-year-old has not spoken to the press since the World Cup and has also been inactive on social media. The Barcelona star's silence has fuelled speculation in Argentina that he could retire from international football, as he did after the 2016 Copa America - a decision he reversed just weeks later.

"I think he's going to keep playing," Tapia told Radio La Red. "We need to let him be. He loves the Argentina national team very much and I believe that internally this blow (the World Cup elimination) must have been very hard for him, as it was for all of us. Argentina needs him."

Tapia said he had spoken to Messi by phone in recent days but denied having talked about the future of the No. 10.