Argentina World Cup winner Jorge Valdano has urged his nation to talk “genius” Lionel Messi out of international retirement as soon as possible.
The Barcelona star stunned the world when he announced his retirement from international football immediately after his side’s Copa America Centenario final loss to Chile.
Edgardo Bauza has been appointed as coach since then, with the new boss saying he plans to talk to the 29-year-old.
Valdano, a 23-cap international who was part of the 1986 World Cup-winning squad, believes his country needs Messi back.
“Time has to do its job. You have to help choose the right time for healing frustrations,” he told Fox Sport.
“But you have to bring Messi back as soon as possible.”
Valdano believes Messi felt “unbearable weight” to deliver a first major trophy for Argentina since 1993, leading to his retirement.
The 60-year-old said the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was simply under too much pressure, but needs to return.
“The leaders exert a big influence on the team where they play and the opponents play an undeniable role,” Valdano said.
“Messi feels the obligation to win games every time he touches the ball. There’s too much burden on your shoulders.
“We are talking about a genius, the best player in the world.
“His retirement would be a problem of some gravity, especially with the situation in which Argentine football is.
“It would be a very good idea to bring back Leo as soon as possible.”
Argentina are quickly running out of time, with World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Venezuela set to be played on September 1 and 6 respectively.