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Lionel Messi Probably Needs The Argentina Sabbatical After Jail Sentence

Even though he probably won't go to jail, Messi must be stressed.

Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Lionel Messi was given a 21-month jail sentence for tax fraud. He likely won't serve it, but will still have to pay a hefty fine.

This bit of bad news comes not too long after losing his third final in a row in an Argentina jersey and announcing his retirement from the national team. Like the jail sentence, the self-imposed retirement may not actually happen. When 2018 comes around, will he actually accept sitting on the sidelines as the World Cup starts in Russia? Personally, I don't think so.

But a break from the Argentine setup is probably a good idea. It's simple, he needs time away to clear his head and Argentina isn't giving him good feelings. Plus, he can rest a lot more as his body gets older. He used to travel wherever, whenever for the national team to play in exotic locales against middling opposition just to make the FA, an FA he sees as questionable, richer. Even then he seemed to play his heart out, and tire his legs out even more.

It's time to give that a rest. He's entitled to take a break and come back in a way that very few players in the world are (I can think of three - Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, and the now-retired-from-international-play-but-probably-for-good Zlatan Ibrahimovic.)

Let him clear his head and rest his legs in the international breaks. It's for the better.