Messi announces return to international football

Lionel Messi after Argetina lost Copa America 2016 to Chile

Lionel Messi has confirmed in a statement his intention to return to the Argentina national team.

The Barcelona superstar opted to quit international football after another heartbreaking loss in the final of the 2016 Copa America – his third final defeat.

Having spoken with new Albiceleste boss Edgardo Bauza, Messi has now made the decision to represent his country once again.

“I see there are lots of problems in Argentine football and I do not want to create another,” he explained through a statement released on Friday.

“I do not want to cause any harm, I have always tried to do the opposite and help wherever I could.

“We have to fix a lot of things in Argentine football, but I’d rather do that from the inside and not criticising from the outside.”

The captain affirmed that it was his love of Argentina that had convinced him to come back for the next World Cup qualifiers after initially stepping down from the team.

“A lot of things went through my head the day of the last final and I seriously thought about quitting, but I love this country and this shirt too much,” he said.

“I thank all the people who want me to keep playing with Argentina, I hope we can soon deliver them some joy.”

Argentina football icon, Diego Maradona, was one of those who called on Messi to change his mind about quitting international football.