Maradona begs Messi to change mind about quitting international football

Diego Maradona

Football icon, Diego Maradona, has urged compatriot Lionel Messi to reconsider his decision to abandon international football.

Messi, 29, shock the world on Monday morning when he announced he was quitting Argentina following their Copa America final defeat to Chile.

Maradona, captain of his country in the their second World Cup triumph in 1986, was among many leading personalities to speak out in support of Messi, who appeared badly affected by the penalty shootout loss to Chile in New Jersey.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has now been part of four final defeats with the national team – three in the Copa America and at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

“Messi must carry on in the national team…because he still has a lot to give, because he’ll get to (2018 World Cup hosts) Russia with chances of being world champion,” Maradona was quoted as saying in the Argentine daily La Nacion on Tuesday.

“He has to lean more on the lads who can help him take the team forward and less on those who say he should leave,” added Maradona, who played in two World Cup finals.

“Messi was abandoned and I don’t want to abandon him. That’s why I want to talk to him, to fight against all those who abandoned him,” said Maradona, who coached Messi and Argentina at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.