Argentina Football Association President Claudio Tapia Hopeful Lionel Messi Will Once Again Play For His Country

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Argentina Football Association (AFA) president Claudio Tapia believes that Lionel Messi will return to play for Argentina.

Lionel Messi has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the Argentine national team

He will not be called up by Argentina interim coach Lionel Scaloni for the international friendlies in Saudi Arabia against Iraq on Oct. 12 and Brazil on Oct. 16.

“I have no doubts that he will return to play [with the national team],” Tapia told TyC Sports. “We have to let him be and give him the time he needs. We have to continue the way we are.

“I’m completely calm, knowing that he, more than anyone, loves the national team jersey. I don’t put a time to his return. We have to let things flow and it will happen when it has to happen. We cannot be hasty.”

Messi, 31, has scored 65 goals in 128 appearances since making his debut with Argentina in August 2005.

Despite competing in four World Cups and four Copa Americas, Messi has not won a major trophy with Argentina, and Tapia said he faced too much pressure heading into the World Cup earlier this year.

“We made him responsible to be world champion, but football is a team sport and is difficult,” Tapia said. “He took charge in situations where players shouldn’t. We just have to continue as we are.”

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