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Iniesta expects Messi to hold Argentina talks

Andres Iniesta expects Lionel Messi to meet with new Argentina boss Edgardo Bauza but does not know whether his team-mate will return to international football.

Barcelona star Messi, 29, announced his retirement from international duty in June after his country suffered defeat to Chile in the Copa America Centenario final – their third consecutive defeat at the final hurdle of a major tournament.

Bauza replaced Gerardo Martino as Argentina boss on Tuesday and has already stated his intention to speak to his record goalscorer, but Iniesta is unsure what the final decision will be.

Speaking ahead of Barca’s International Champions Cup game against Liverpool at Wembley, which Jordi Alba will not participate in due to illness, Iniesta said: “You are saying it seems like he is going to return? I don’t know – that’s a personal decision or maybe something to do with his national coach. 

“I’m sure they will speak with each other and then we will find out what kind of decision he makes.

“A player wants to be happy with what they do and where they do it. When players make a decision it’s because they are trying to decide on the best for themselves and their own happiness. 

“If Leo playing for both Barcelona and Argentina is best for him then great, if it is just playing for Barcelona then, at the end of the day, all you want is for Leo and any other player to simply be comfortable and happy with what they are doing.

“He seems fine and the same as ever – enjoying his football, enjoying training, enjoying matches, enjoying the day to day of being with his colleagues. 

“There are personal situations that each player deals with in their own personal way, but he still has the same hunger to play, train, win and I’m sure he will continue to be number one.

“I don’t think anybody has any doubt about what Leo Messi does for this club and has done ever since he arrived. Nothing has changed, he has come back in strong condition, he is still a unique player and hopefully he will continue this season because that will also help us to get closer to our objectives.”

Messi was controversially left out of UEFA’s shortlist for the Best Player in Europe award on Friday, with Real Madrid duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale making the top three along with Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid.

Iniesta said: “People vote for their own reasons. I would have picked different players, but other people decide who is in contention. I can only congratulate the choices that were made, no more than that.”

Fri 5 Aug, 2016
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