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Messi statue unveiled in Buenos Aires

Lionel Messi's decision to retire from international football has shocked the whole of Argentina. PHOTO/DM.

Lionel Messi’s decision to retire from international football has shocked the whole of Argentina. PHOTO/DM.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina June 29 – The president of Argentina said on Tuesday he hopes to meet Lionel Messi next week and convince him to return to the national team.

President Mauricio Macri said he had spoken by telephone with Messi after he announced his shock retirement from the Argentine national team following the dramatic penalty shoot-out defeat by Chile in the Copa America final last Sunday.

Messi returned to Argentina on Monday, but has not spoken publicly about his decision. Macri said he told Messi to ‘ignore some of the nonsense because, truth be told, we are all very happy’ with how the Barcelona star has played for Argentina.

Messi, who moved to Barcelona aged 13, has often faced tough criticism in Argentina because he has failed to deliver the country a major title. The lack of success with La Albiceleste is in direct contrast to his huge trophy haul with the Catalan giants at club level.

Messi is often compared unfavourably to Maradona, who led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title, but Macri said he didn’t understand the criticism of a player widely accepted as the world’s best.

‘The truth is that it’s good fortune, a joy, a gift from God to have the best player in the world in a country like ours that is so football crazy,’ said Macri, a former president of Boca Juniors.

Macri’s lobbying could be helped by a gathering planned for Saturday at the obelisk in central Buenos Aires, the city’s most famous landmark.

Support for Messi has been overwhelming on social media with sports figures, artists and politicians urging him to return.

Billboards and signs across the city are also asking him to stay. In the midst of the turmoil, the Buenos Aires city hall unveiled a statue of Messi with a football at his foot – alongside other national sports stars.

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Click to comment


  1. yerf njogu

    May 12, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Time’s up for you Kalonzo. You served Mwingi for more than a decade and they still don’t have clean drinking water are you kidding me!!! Nigga take your ass to hell

    • palmax

      May 12, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      Njogu, your comment is so disgusting! do you have to write such an abusive language in a public webpage? grow up!

      • Timoh Tammie

        May 12, 2013 at 8:54 pm

        i think kuna watu wengine wako na shida they just like insults it shows the kind of person he/she is.

        • Kwessi Pratt

          May 13, 2013 at 6:34 am

          When you dont understand that democracy is about friendly competition you lapse in to foul language. Thats why I have all along been institing that democracy arrived too early for most of us! We cant get anywhere at all if most people think political competition is a fight to death. Things even get worse when every political action is in itself, self-serving. Tribal enclaves that we now call counties were pushed for by defeated forces who wanted to have some alternative centre of power in their respective areas. That narrowness is now turning in to security nightmare because local politicians want to be part of the game. Interests of some of these politicians compellingly run counter to greater national interests. Some of them are even suspected to be working in concert with criminal gangs! Needless to say, DCs were never interested parties in their respective stations. But since they wont tolerate opposition to hold rallies against government wishes, we declared them “unwanted” lot. May be thats the worst mistake this country has ever made!!!!

  2. shalom

    May 12, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Brilliant idea! safe your career. All the best lakini usiingile serikali maana utafuata nyayo za rafiki yako RAO our baba.

  3. Kwessi Pratt

    May 13, 2013 at 7:16 am

    You can you retreat if you never took a single step?

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