Valdano relieved over Messi U-turn


Lionel Messi's decision to come back into the Argentina fold has been welcomed by former World Cup winner Jorge Valdano.

Barcelona superstar Messi announced his international retirement in the wake of Argentina's defeat to Chile in the final of the Copa America Centenario at the end of June.

Having missed his penalty in the shoot-out defeat, Messi confirmed he would no longer represent his nation after losing three major finals in as many years.

However, the 29-year-old went back on that decision earlier this month and was subsequently named in new head coach Edgardo Bauza's first squad, for World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Venezuela in September.

"I understood [Messi's retirement] as the act of a player who had an unbearable weight on his back and brought it into the microphones out of the locker room," Valdano, who won the 1986 World Cup with Argentina and scored in the final, told Ole.

"That weight passed its limit.

"Luckily, he changed his decision, which if not changed would have been very hard for Argentine football."

On the appointment of Bauza as a replacement for Gerardo Martino, Valdano had kind words for his former international team-mate, but conceded the 58-year-old still had to prove himself.

"I think he's a fantastic guy, passionate about football, with whom I lived in the selection," Valdano said.

"But I'm not able to do a portrait of him from the football because I've only seen his San Lorenzo in the final of Club World Cup against Real Madrid. 

"A squad, of course, playing with EUR600million against a budget 10 times smaller. Now you have a very large capital resources and there we will see well what their chances are."