New Argentine boss wants Messi back for crucial World Cup qualifiers

August 2 – Argentina’s new national coach Edgardo Bauza has made it a priority to try and persuade Lionel Messi to come out of international retirement as he starts to think about next month’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Bauza was named on Monday to replace Gerardo Martino, who resigned a month ago after the Copa America penalty shootout defeat to Chile which partly led to Messi deciding to quit international football at the age of 29 following his fourth defeat in a major final with his country.

“I’m optimistic about Messi,” Bauza was quoted as saying in the Argentine daily La Nacion. “I hope the chat with him will help for him to carry on in the national team. I want to explain to Messi what my (tactical) idea is.”

Bauza soon has to pick a squad for qualifiers at home to Uruguay and away to Venezuela in the first week of September.

Argentina are third in the 10-nation South American World Cup qualifying group with 11 points from six matches, two points behind leading pair Uruguay and Ecuador. The top four teams qualify for Russia while the fifth-placed team goes into an intercontinental playoff for one more spot in the finals.

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