Lionel Messi says he “did not deceive anybody” after making his first appearance for Argentina since reversing his decision to retire from international football.
Messi shocked the footballing world with his decision to retire from the Argentina national team following their loss to Chile in the Copa America Centenario final in June.
The defeat was the third in three years Messi and Co. had suffered in the final of a major international tournament.
However, after a meeting with new Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza – who flew to Europe to meet with Messi – the Barcelona star elected to return to the national team.
And on Thursday he proved to be Argentina’s hero, scoring the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win over Uruguay to move top of the CONMEBOL World Cup qualification standings.
Messi insists he did not attempt to fool anyone with his decision to retire, believing it was the right call to make at the time.
“I am very grateful [to return to the national team],” Messi told TV Publica.
“But I did not deceive anybody when I retired, I felt that.
“We were very disappointed with what had happened, but after that I thought better.
“I had a conversation with the Paton [Bauza] and the people as well accompanied me through it.”
However, the 29-year-old is a doubt for Argentina’s next qualifier against Venezuela due to injury.
“I don’t know if I will play against Venezuela,” he said. “I have a lot of pain in my groin but I wanted to be here after the disturbance I caused.”