Let Messi have time to think about national team: AFA

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Buenos Aires, July 25 (IANS) Argentine Soccer Federation (AFA) president Claudio Tapia has called on fans to give superstar FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi some time to come to a decision about his future with the national team.

“We have a lot of confidence in him. We have to leave him alone, let him get himself together, let him start his tournament in Spain and next year … we’ll see,” Tapia told Radio Mitre on Tuesday.

Tapia said he was in contact with Messi, who was Argentina’s captain at the World Cup in Russia, last Friday, when the South American country celebrated Friends Day, reports EFE news agency.

“I think we have a good back-and-forth relationship,” the AFA president said, adding that he thought Messi would want to continue playing with the national team.

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Tapia said the 31-year-old Messi was “a big help financially for the AFA.”

The federation president said no one had been contacted yet about replacing Jorge Sampaoli as national team coach, adding that he would work with the AFA’s Executive Committee to select the next coach.

The AFA’s Executive Committee next scheduled meeting is on July 31.

Fans were extremely disappointed with the national team’s performance at the World Cup.

Argentina’s roster was headlined by Messi, who failed to score in the round of 16 against France and had just one goal in the tournament.

At the World Cup, Croatia beat Argentina 3-0 in the group phase, while eventual champion France knocked off the South American squad 4-3 in the round of 16.

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Sampaoli used 57 different players in a World Cup cycle of 15 matches, finishing with a record of 7-4-4.

–IANS

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