Stoichkov makes Messi plea


Former Barcelona striker Hristo Stoichkov has called upon Lionel Messi to reconsider his decision to retire from international football, saying: "You can get through this".

Messi reacted to Argentina's 4-2 penalty shoot-out defeat to Chile in the Copa America final on Sunday by announcing "for me the national team is over", effectively ending his international career with just one Olympic gold medal to show for it.

The defeat extended Argentina's wait for a major tournament title to 23 years but former Nou Camp favourite Stoichkov, who scored 38 goals in 84 appearances for Bulgaria, sent Messi a personal message imploring him to keep faith with international football.

Stoichkov took to social media to send Messi a message that read: "Leo, I ask please do not leave your country.

"There are tough times but you can get through this."

The message concluded with: "A big hug."