Messi hints at Argentina retirement following World Cup

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The Barcelona star has revealed that he could hang up his boots for the international team, but it depends on how they perform in Russia

Lionel Messi is unsure if he will continue playing for Argentina beyond the World Cup.

The 30-year-old briefly stepped away from the Albiceleste in 2016 and is considering bringing a permanent close to an international career that began in 2005.

His long stint in the national team has been marked with near misses including a defeat to Germany in the 2014 World Cup decider and back-to-back final failures at the Copa America.

Messi, who was named player of the tournament four years ago, believes Argentina's accomplishments have been undervalued by his country's media, and says the trip to Russia could be his last.

"I don't know. It will depend how we do, how it ends," the star attacker told Sport.

"The fact we've lost three finals now has led to some complicated moments with the Argentine press due to the differences in seeing what it means to reach a final.

"It is not easy and [reaching three finals] has to be appreciated. It's true that winning them is important, but getting there is not easy."

Should they reach the knockout stages, Messi expects Argentina's bid for a third World Cup title to face stiff opposition from Brazil, Germany, Spain, France and Belgium.

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However, he insists Jorge Sampaoli's side have nothing to fear in Russia.

"There are a lot of very good players but we also have quality players that any national team would want. We don't envy anyone," the skipper added.

Argentina commence their campaign against Iceland in Moscow on June 16 before further Group D clashes with Croatia and Nigeria.

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