Argentina Great Mario Kempes Justifies Lionel Messi’s Retirement Call Prior to 2022 World Cup Win: ‘What’s the Point?’

Lionel Messi was fully justified in his decision to retire from Argentina duty in 2016, says Mario Kempes, but he made the right choice coming back.

WHAT HAPPENED? After suffering another agonising final defeat at the Copa America, Messi announced to the world that he would be walking away from international football. He was soon talked out of that decision, though, allowing him to go on and become a World Cup winner at Qatar 2022 – on the back of savouring continental glory with the Albiceleste a year earlier.

 

WHAT KEMPES SAID ABOUT MESSI – Kempes, who conquered the world himself in 1978, has told Infobae of why he understood Messi’s frustration and how the eight-time Ballon d’Or has found a new lease of life under Lionel Scaloni – who has faced questions of his own future: “You have to respect everything. When Messi resigned I said it was fine. If he lost, it was his fault… There came a time when I said ‘what’s the point?’

Why are you going to ruin your life by coming to Argentina?’ He does everything he has to do, everything turns out well for him, but not for the National Team and that bothers him. And I said ‘let him not come again, let him stay happy in Barcelona’. But one day the tables turned, he found a new coach, a new team, and there he began to enjoy himself and won the Copa America and the World Cup. The same thing happened with Scaloni, without experience, a substitute coach, he started to do things well, they left him alone, he became champion and now he said ‘gentlemen, respect me’. If he wants to leave, he goes, and if he wants to stay, he stays. There must be some problems that we don’t know about.”

Scaloni has signed a new contract with the Argentina national team through to the end of the 2026 World Cup cycle. Messi is also expected to play on to that point, despite initially suggesting that he would bow out after bringing his long wait for global glory to a close in the Middle East.

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