Pablo Zabaleta fears Lionel Messi’s chances of winning something with Argentina have evaporated after Wednesday’s 3-0 loss to Croatia.
Argentina’s stay in Russia is no longer in their own hands after taking just one point from their first two games. There’s a real possibility that Messi and his teammates won’t even make the last 16.
Former Albicelest international Zabaleta says he is gutted for Messi, who at 30 may get another chance to win a trophy with his country.
“I just feel so sorry for Lionel Messi,” he told the BBC. “This was his last chance to win something with Argentina – so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him retire from international football after this.
“He will be so disappointed and it is another four years until Qatar.”
Messi has reached four finals with Argentina — three Copa Americas and one World Cup — but had never won anything with them at senior international level.
If that doesn’t change in Russia this summer, providing he doesn’t quit international football, that could change next year at the Copa America in Brazil.
Meanwhile, former Argentina striker Hernan Crespo reiterated his belief that Messi does not need to win the World Cup to be considered the best player ever.
“A lot of players are great in our memories without winning the World Cup,” he said to the BBC. “If he wins he is a great player, but he is still a great player if he doesn’t.
“How many great players didn’t win it? I don’t remember Johan Cruyff or [Michel] Platini doing it.”