Diego Maradona has questioned the motives behind Lionel Messi’s decision to retire from international football and his subsequent U-turn.
Messi announced his intention to step down from Argentina duty in the immediate aftermath of the Copa America final defeat to Chile in June.
But following talks with new Argentina boss Edgardo Bauza, Messi has made himself available once again and is expected to feature in the meeting with Uruguay on September 1 and the trip to Venezuela five days later.
Bauza has called for an end to what he referred to as “Messi-dependence”, but Maradona has suggested the whole saga is a ruse to mask Argentina’s recent failures at international level, with defeats in the 2014 World Cup final, the 2015 Copa America final and the title-match at this year’s Copa Centenario still fresh in the memory.
The 1986 World Cup winner told Radio La Red: “I do not know if Messi’s retirement was a set-up to help us forget about the fact that we lost three finals in a row.
“The lad first said that he was going to give up and then took a step back and managed to change his mind in just a matter of weeks.”