Lionel Messi deserves to retire from international football as a champion, says Argentina head coach Edgardo Bauza.
The superstar forward has enjoyed a glittering career with Barcelona, winning eight LaLiga titles, four Copas del Rey and the Champions League four times.
Messi has also been recognised as the world’s best player on five occasions, but success on the international stage has continued to elude him.
Argentina were beaten in the 2014 World Cup final, while they also suffered heartbreaks in the finals of the 2015 and 2016 Copa Americas, the latter of which saw him announce his retirement from international football – a decision he swiftly reversed.
Bauza says it was easy to convince Messi and his Barca club-mate Javier Mascherano to continue with the national team and is sure he has plenty left to give Argentina.
“When we were chatting it occurred to me he was very interested in selection and what worried him more than anything was how to improve,” Bauza told Sport.
“I didn’t meet Messi to persuade him. I was convinced that during our chat a chance would open up.
“After our talks, all I had to say was, ‘Okay, boys, you’ll be picked for the next game’.
“I reckon he still has a lot to give to the team. He deserves to take his retirement in another way – he deserves to end his international career as a champion.”
Messi will not be involved in Argentina’s World Cup qualifier against Paraguay on Tuesday as he continues to recover from a groin injury.