Lionel Messi has allayed fears that he may retire from international football for a second time after their Copa America exit.
Argentina were beaten 2-0 by Brazil in Belo Horizonte overnight, with their semi-final exit ensuring the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has still never won his home continental tournament.
Only last month Messi cast doubt over his chances of playing in the World Cup finals in Qatar in 2022 – when he will be 34 – but after another disappointment on the international stage, the Barcelona forward confirmed his commitment to his country for the meantime at least.
“Something new is on the horizon,” he told reporters, adding that he hoped the fans back home would recognise the side’s effort during the tournament.
“I hope we are respected and not criticised. They should let the team be and let them grow.
“The truth is I have got on very well with this group of players and if I have to help in some way I will. This is a great group which is growing and if I can join them I will.”
Messi previously retired from international duty in 2016, after he missed a shootout penalty in Argentina’s Copa America final defeat to Chile.
He later returned to the fold in time to help his country qualify for the World Cup in 2018, but has hinted several times since that his time representing his country may be coming to an end.
Messi is Argentina’s all-time top scorer, with 68 goals during his international career.