Lionel Messi says he isn’t planning to call time on his international career after Argentina’s Copa America exit.
Argentina went down 2-0 to hosts Brazil in the Copa America semi-finals as goals from Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino proved the difference.
The Barcelona forward did briefly retire from La Albiceleste duty in 2016 and there has been speculation this year’s tournament in Brazil could be his last on the international stage.
Messi will be 35 when the next World Cup takes place in Qatar in 2022 but, with Argentina set to co-host the Copa America with Colombia next year, he is keen to continue with his country for a little while longer yet.
“Something new is on the horizon,” he told reporters. “I hope we are respected and not criticised. They should let the team be and let them grow.
“The truth is I have got on very well with this group of players and if I have to help in some way I will. This is a great group which is growing and if I can join them I will.”
Messi has never managed to win a major title at international level, but he did help Argentina claim the Gold Medal at the Olympics in 2008.
Messi’s Barcelona are 1.67 to win the La Liga title outright next season, with the Catalan giants available at 6.50 to win the Champions League.