Lionel Messi has revealed that he really thought he wouldn’t play in the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia in an interview with FOX Sports.
“When I quit the national team, I thought I would not play with Argentina again,” the Barcelona star said, referring to the time after the 2016 Copa América when he announced he was quitting the Argentine national team.
Argentina were slogging through qualification to the World Cup without Messi, when finally, he announced he would return. ”When I came back, I regretted quitting,” he explained. “It even made me feel shame to think people thought I was disrespecting my teammates.”
The albiceleste were able to qualify, but in large part only due to Messi’s superhuman effort.
Some thought Messi was not serious and he was always planning to be “retired” for a short time before coming back, but the forward insists he really meant it: “People can think it was ‘smoke,’ but at the time it’s how I felt.”