‘It is not down to Messi to solve everything’: Argentina head coach

‘It is not down to Messi to solve everything’: Argentina head coach

BUENOS AIRES: New Argentina head coach Edgardo Bauza said on Tuesday that he wants to see his side rely less on Lionel Messi, after the Barcelona forward’s brief retirement from international football.

Messi said that he was going to quit playing for his country in the aftermath of their second successive Copa America final defeat on penalties to Chile two months ago.

But former Sao Paulo coach Bauza persuaded the five-time world player of the year to continue his international career, after taking over as boss from Gerardo Martino.

He will oversee his first matches in charge in 2018 World Cup qualifying against Uruguay and Venezuela next month.

“Do not always give it to him to make a play or score a goal, but create conditions that mean that it is not down to Messi to solve everything,” Bauza told Argentine daily La Nacion.

“Depend on the team. I want to stop everything from depending on him… We all know that when the ball goes through him something different can happen, but we need help from the team.

“Having the best player in the world does not guarantee that you will win games, but it does guarantee that there will be fear in the opposition.”

Argentina, the top-ranked team in the world, are currently third in South American qualifying for the next World Cup in Russia after six matches.

Bauza’s first game in charge sees his new side host Uruguay, who lead the qualification table, on September 1, before a trip to Venezuela on September 6.

Messi rejoins Argentina for love of country

Messi rejoins Argentina for love of country

BUENOS AIRES: Star striker Lionel Messi will return to play for the Argentine national football team for “love” of his country, despite earlier vowing to retire in frustration, he said on Friday.

Argentina’s new coach Edgardo Bauza promptly named him to the squad for two looming qualifying games for the 2018 World Cup.

It was heartening news for the country’s demanding soccer fans after Argentina were knocked out of the Olympic Games this week in the group stage, their latest in a string of humiliations.

The 29-year-old Barcelona superstar had abruptly announced his international retirement in tears after Argentina lost the Copa America final to Chile on June 26.

“A lot of things went through my mind on the night of the final and I gave serious thought to quitting, but my love for my country and this shirt is too great,” he said on Friday in a statement released by his management company.

His earlier vow to quit had dismayed fans, many of whom held street rallies and posted online messages begging him not to go.

It became practically an affair of state when Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri called on him to stay. “It is a gift from God to have the best player in the world in a footballing country like ours,” Macri said in June.

“Lionel Messi is the greatest thing we have in Argentina and we must take care of him.”

Source/Credit: Dawn