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Lionel Messi

Olympic gold medal means more than Barcelona titles - Messi

5:58 AM EDT 4/5/17
The forward's performances for his national team are often under the microscope, but he remains determined to achieve success with the Albiceleste

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi values his Olympic gold medal more than his club titles and insists he pays no attention to any criticism his performances for Argentina receive.

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Messi has enjoyed a glittering domestic career at Camp Nou, but has failed to replicate that success with the national team.

The prolific forward won Olympic gold in 2008, however, Argentina fell short in the final of the 2014 World Cup and were also runners-up in the 2015 and 2016 Copa Americas, the latter defeat seeing him briefly retire from international football.

Messi has often been the subject of criticism for Argentina's failures and the 29-year-old came in for more scrutiny after receiving a four-match ban for verbally abusing an assistant referee during a 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Chile last month.

However, the 29-year-old is adamant he is not affected by his critics.

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"The criticism I receive is not something I care about because I know about the things that happened," he told Esquire.

"I understand the people who always want us to win and demand that we deliver a trophy.

"But those of us who play for the national team want to win a title too.

"The Olympic gold in 2008 is the win that I value the most because it is a tournament that you may only play in once in your life and involves many athletes from different disciplines."

Following the criticism of Messi last week on the back of his four-game ban, he received the support of his Argentina team-mate Mariano Andujar

"I honestly don't think Leo should bother coming back, but he loves playing for the national team," Andujar told Dos Contra Uno.

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"But he shouldn't bother. Why are you going to come back? So that they can boo you again? Why would you bother?

"Nobody appreciates him. Everybody says 'why doesn't he play for Argentina like he does for Barcelona,' they accuse him of not bothering.

"He said he wasn't going to play again and they started putting up banners on July 9 asking for him to come back; you don't appreciate what you've got until it's gone."