Messi: Argentina, Masche, the bench…

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi

The Argentine agreed to a new deal verbally in the summer but did not follow it up by actually signing it. Messi was reportedly unhappy with Neymar's departure to Paris Saint-Germain and the subsequent failed efforts by the club to sign able replacements.

Argentina's last major championship triumph was in 1993 when they emerged winners of the Copa America.

The 30-year-old retired from international duty after losing the Copa America Centenario final to Chile in 2016, the same side that pipped them to the trophy one year prior.

"It'll be difficult for some to stay on".

Messi said: "Mascherano? I'm not going to tell you what he told me, but I'll understand if he leaves, he wants to play more". "It has to be something good for me and good for Gremio, which is my home".

"Brazil are very good, Spain have great players, Germany is strong, France have a good team - today they are all at a higher level than us".

"And a part of that doubt is due to the way the country is at the moment", added Messi.

"If we do badly, the entire national team will have to disappear".

"I never went back over the finals we lost. What I have are memories", he said. Messi, however, believes they should have celebrated at least two victories.

Messi himself has also been left out of the team in recent weeks.

One player who has already announced his intention to end his Argentina career after the World Cup is Messi's Barcelona team-mate Javier Mascherano.

In both the Champions League ties with Juventus and Sporting CP, Messi was initially restricted to the bench and insists that he's happy with that.

In an interview with local channel TyC Sports, broadcast on Wednesday, Messi describes Higuain as "a fundamental player, he needs to be there". "Then, if I sign the contract, I will be a Barcelona player, but this has not happened".