Messi haunted by failures but retirement still long way off

Argentina's forward Lionel Messi. Photograph:( AFP )

Reuters Buenos Aires, Argentina Mar 30, 2019, 10.20 AM (IST)

Lionel Messi says he constantly replays Argentina's 2014 World Cup final defeat in his head but has vowed that a recent international sabbatical was a one-off and he has no plans to retire in the near future.

The Barcelona striker, speaking on an Argentine radio station on Friday, also surprised listeners by saying he misses Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who left rivals Real Madrid for Juventus last year.

Messi, a five-times Ballon d'Or winner, has begun 2019 in fine form with his Barcelona side running away with La Liga and through to the Champions League quarter-finals.

He also returned to international action last week in a lackluster 3-1 defeat by Venezuela, a game that was his first for the national side since he took a break following the 2018 World Cup.

Argentina were knocked out of the tournament in the second round and Messi, who has still not scored a goal in the knockout stages of any of the four World Cups in which he has featured, was criticized by some fans.

Story highlights

The Barcelona striker, speaking on an Argentine radio station on Friday, also surprised listeners by saying he misses Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who left rivals Real Madrid for Juventus last year.