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Why did Lionel Messi return to Argentina national team so quickly?

Because his coach was really smart

United States v Argentina: Semifinal - Copa America Centenario Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Lionel Messi was the talk of the summer because of what happened with the Argentina national team in the Copa América Centenario in the United States. After carrying the nation on his back all the way to a final only to lose it for the third straight year, Messi had enough, and he called it a career with the Albiceleste.

The world was shocked by Leo's decision, and the people from Argentina immediately started a campaign to try and convince the Barcelona superstar to come out of his retirement and continue playing for his nation. He remained firm for about two months, and his decision caused a lot of changes in the national team, which included manager Tata Martino being fired.

In came Edgardo Bauza to replace Martino, and his appointment was not a source of excitement for Argentineans. He had only coached in South America for his entire career, and big names like Diego Simeone, Mauricio Pochettino and Marcelo Bielsa were ahead of him in the pecking order, but said no to the job, which meant Bauza was the last resort.

Then Bauza traveled to Catalonia one night, most specifically the Joan Gamper Trophy match between Barcelona and Sampdoria at Camp Nou. A few hours after the game, a surprising announcement: Lionel Messi had decided to return to the national team.

So why did Messi make that decision, and how did Bauza convinced him to be an Albiceleste again? The coach says he didn't do much:

"First we asked him if he would receive us. When he accepted, I knew that there would be no problem with him because it was going to be a chat about football. I didn't go to convince Messi, I was convinced that in the chat a possibility would arise. He received me with Javier Mascherano at the Ciutat Esportiva and after the chat there was nothing more to say other than 'Boys, you're called up for the next game.'"

Messi is currently injured and not able to play for Argentina, but he did work with Bauza for a week last month, and Leo's incredible football IQ was very surprising to the manager:

"What surprised me is how much he knows about football, because he knows everything, about his team-mates, the technical team, about football. He's aware of everything. I always thought a player of his standing would have to be a player who knew a lot about football. But he surprised me even more than I thought. Leo knows everything about everything. Nothing escapes him. He has a very important understanding and this helps when one has to communicate their idea."

Source: Diario Sport

Most Barça fans are not happy with Messi's return, and his injury problems at the start of this season have much to do with his international match against Uruguay that aggravated a groin problem; but Leo loves his country too much to quit, and the talk with Bauza certainly helped.

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