Football fans rejoiced on micro-blogging website Twitter after Barcelona star Lionel Messi announced on Friday that he was reversing his decision to retire from international football because his love for the “country and this shirt is too great”.
Fans’ pleas have finally been heard, months after Messi announced his retirement following Argentina’s second consecutive Copa America final loss to Chile in June this year. Messi has lost four major finals in the striped blue and white jersey, including the 2014 World Cup final to Germany in Brazil.
An emotional Messi, who had missed a penalty in the New Jersey final, had said after the crushing defeat in June: “I’ve done all I can, I’ve been in four finals and it hurts not to be a champion.”
Here’s how Tweeple reacted:
Most were just ecstatic...
I love Messi, so him coming back should be good for fans. But I feel bad for him, AFA don't deserve him. He'll always be their scapegoat.— Josip (@jperkovic93) August 12, 2016
Messi is re-added to the group... pic.twitter.com/K6Bwe13Ze2— Copa90 (@Copa90) August 12, 2016
Fortunately, it isn’t just Messi’s hair that changed this year. Now, everyone’s hoping there’s a hair colour reversal on the cards too:
Messi took time off National team duties to dye his hair and grow a beard.— #TicklinDSebiticalis (@NDamoah) August 13, 2016
Messi has come out of international retirement, claiming he loves the shirt too much— UNILAD Football (@UNILADFooty) August 12, 2016
Amazing what a few weeks & bleaching your hair will do
And of course, Cristiano Ronaldo vs Messi rivalry ignites again.
LOOOOL messi couldn't hack Ronaldo winning an international tournament so he came back from international retirement ????— Simba DeRozen (@DeRozenDontCare) August 12, 2016
Gonzalo Higuain’s absence from the Argentina squad list didn’t go unnoticed either
Higuiain celebrating his offside goal in WC final lasted longer than Messi's retirement pic.twitter.com/Gx3BFtV2J9— RMadridBabe (@RMadridBabe) August 12, 2016
A picture we will never have to see again. Messi with Higuain. ?? pic.twitter.com/22X9YxEx45— THAT CULÉ NAMED NAZ (@FCNazalona) August 12, 2016
For some though, history repeated itself as Messi’s comeback was compared with Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi’s, who did after all follow the same trajectory.
The five-time Fifa Ballon D’or winner was reportedly coaxed back from retirement by newly-appointed Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza who was spotted in Barcelona for a meeting with the team captain on Thursday.