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Countryman del Potro wants Lionel Messi to rethink retirement

Argentina’s former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro has pleaded with compatriot Lionel Messi to rethink his shock decision to quit international football.

football Updated: Jun 29, 2016 10:23 IST
AFP
Lionel Messi looks on before the match-winning penalty is scored during the Copa America Centenario final.
Lionel Messi looks on before the match-winning penalty is scored during the Copa America Centenario final.(AFP)

Argentina’s former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro has pleaded with compatriot Lionel Messi to rethink his shock decision to quit international football.

Messi, 29, called a halt to his career with the national team on Sunday after Argentina were defeated by Chile in the Copa America Centenario final.

But del Potro on Tuesday said he hopes the superstar Barcelona forward will have a change of heart in time for the 2018 World Cup.

“I think Messi needs time to think about it, just stay with the family, take a break, then he will be available to make a smart decision about the national team,” del Potro told reporters at Wimbledon.

“I want him be happy. He has a great family, good friends. He’s the best player of the world. He must be happy every day.”

Messi cut a frustrated figure at the weekend, weary of the internal politics bedevilling the Argentine Football Association.

Del Potro has endured his share of differences with the Argentinian tennis federation. (REUTERS)

Del Potro, who won his Wimbledon first-round tie against Stephane Robert on Tuesday, has endured his differences with his country’s tennis rulers.

He recently agreed to return to the Davis Cup team in time for July’s quarter-final against Italy after a four-year absence.

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