Argentina hoping it's Messi's year at World Cup

Lawrence Cooper
May 30, 2018

In the build-up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has revealed why he ultimately turned down the opportunity to represent Spain.

Despite this, Messi has acknowledged he would have already won football's most prestigious accolade in a World Cup medal if he chose to represent the country he grew up in during his teenage years.

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Argentina head to Russian Federation in search of their third World Cup having last lifted the trophy in 1986.

At previous major tournaments, including the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Messi has suffered from burnout following a gruelling season at club level.

"I would change a Barcelona title for the national team". We're working well, we have players with ability and experience, but we have to go slowly.

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In an interview with ElTrece, Messi said: "The other day I was speaking with a my friend, and he told me, 'Look, if you had stayed with Spain, you would be world champion.' But it would not have been the same".

Argentina face Haiti on Tuesday night and Israel on June 9 in their two friendly matches ahead of the World Cup. We don't want to send the message, 'We're going to win the World Cup because we're the best.' because the reality is we aren't.

Messi insists winning it with Argentina would be particularly special and says he doesn't regret not swapping allegiances to Spain, despite their win in 2010.

"Being a champion with Argentina would be something unique". We have to aim to win the first game, which is the most important because it will give us peace of mind.

Messi moved to Barcelona at the age of 13 and would have been eligible to play for Spain. "Iceland showed they can compete with anyone (at the European Championships in 2016), Croatia have a great midfield and it's always tough for us against Nigeria".

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