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I want to talk with Messi, not convince him of U-turn – Bauza

New Argentina head coach Edgardo Bauza says he plans to speak with Lionel Messi soon, but denied he will make a concerted effort to convince him to return to international football.

Messi announced his retirement from Argentina duty in the wake of their Copa America Centenario final defeat to Chile, claiming he did not wish to continue after a fourth defeat in major finals in nine years.

Speculation has persisted that Messi will renounce his decision, with Argentina president Mauricio Macri the latest to claim that the 29-year-old will return for the World Cup in Russia in 2018.

It was reported that Bauza would make attempts to convince Messi to come back his immediate priority after taking over from Gerard Martino, but the 58-year-old says he only wishes to speak with the team’s former captain.

“In the last 48 hours, I’ve read everything,” he said on Friday. “I’m not going to convince anyone. My only intention is to chat about football with Messi.

“He has a game on Wednesday [for Barcelona against Sampdoria]. If he has a day to chat about football, that will then suggest if there is the possibility that he can be called to play the first two games [in September] for the national team.

“I haven’t spoken with anyone at all. I’ll try to get in touch to see if we can meet so I can tell him my idea, to talk to him about my experiences, and we’ll see what comes of that talk.

“It’s easy to talk football with a player. If there’s a decision to take after that, then I’ll take it. I understand the phrases you can say when frustration hits you, but I also know they can be reversed.”

Bauza admits he has plenty of worries to address before Argentina face Uruguay in World Cup qualifying on September 2, but he has urged his players to embrace their opportunity to make history for their country after final heartbreak in recent years.

“I’m one of those who thinks about attacking and defending. We’ll attack with everything and defend with everything,” he said. “You have to respect the history of the shirt and the team. We must seize the moment the players have to be protagonists for the national team.

“Having this responsibility makes me happy, and fills my head with more concerns. There is a lot to do, we’re starting to work. The most important thing is the desire.”

Fri 5 Aug, 2016
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