‘They invent things about me… I’m painted as the son of a b****’: Lionel Messi hits back at his critics as he faces battle to be fit in time to face Manchester United in a fortnight
- Lionel Messi has hit back at his critics after pulling out of Argentina’s latest game
- Messi said people ‘invent things’ about him and he’s ‘painted as a son of a b****’
- The Barcelona talisman also suggested that he’s not currently 100 per cent fit
- Barcelona are set to face Manchester United in Champions League in two weeks
In a fiery interview with Radio 94.7 in Argentina, Messi also took aim at his critics and warned them he has no immediate plans to retire from international football.
‘Somebody says whatever they want to say about me and then people believe it and I’m painted as the son of a b****,’ he said, livid at the most recent criticism after he pulled out of Argentina’s win over Morocco this week and travelled back to Barcelona.
Lionel Messi has suggested he is not 100 per cent fit before hitting out at his critics
He said: ‘It has become the custom to say things about me. They invent things about me when I am not there. Nothing surprises me.
‘The truth is I came back to the Argentina team with a pubis injury that I have been carrying since December and I have been training less and not playing all games.
‘Pubis injuries are complicated; you cannot shake them off from one day to the next. I feel better but I have to take care of myself.
‘I wanted to play both games with Argentina but after the first game I had some pain and I decided to rest so as not to aggravate the injury. It is improving all the time but it is not completely cleared up.’
Messi failed to inspire Argentina as they lost 3-1 to Venezuela last Friday in Madrid
The 31-year-old suggested that he isn’t ready to retire from international football
Messi’s golden years at Barcelona have coincided with a decade of under-achievement on the international stage as Argentina have tried and failed to build a tournament-winning team around him.
After failure in the last World Cup he took time off from international football and many expected him not to return.
He said: ‘I want to win with Argentina. I am going to play all the top games. A lot of friends and family told me not to go back to the team. My son said to me: “Why do they kill you in Argentina?” ‘I told him that it is just a few people and he realises that [most] people do support me.
‘I play for my family, my team-mates and I enjoy it. The people that don’t like me are going to have to put up with for a bit longer.’
Argentina were beaten by Venezuela in Madrid a week ago in a friendly with Messi unable to prevent the defeat.
He was criticised back in his home country for having ‘one attitude with Barcelona and another with Argentina’, and they criticised him again for missing the next game for fitness reasons.
Messi pulled out of Argentina’s win over Morocco this week and travelled back to Barcelona
The prospects do not look good for the Copa America due to be played this summer in Brazil and Messi continues to be accused of not loving his country.
He added: ‘My generation of players have been treated badly. We are a group that does not pay lip service. We don’t keep saying that we love playing for Argentina.
‘I don’t go on about how I love the Argentina team as some do all the time.
‘People believe what they want to believe. We don’t pay lip service. We are professionals and if that were not the case I would not have come back to play for the team. No one has made me do it.’
Asked about the World Cup failure of last year he said: ‘It infuriates me some of the things they say like my father runs the team.
‘They say he has power in the AFA (Argentina Football Association). The family suffers. I have friends and family who suffer because of what they say.’
He admitted needing time away after the World Cup saying: ‘I tried to shut myself away and grieving with just my family and getting far from everything; far from the Argentina team.’
Messi also hit back at the accusation that Sergio Aguero would be in the team if he had a say
Messi is understood to have had his fallings out with current coach Lionel Scaloni.
Despite this, some have still claimed he picked the new manager.
He added: ‘I left the World Cup and didn’t speak to anyone. Scaloni called me a few times and told me about the project. I never talked with anybody to make Scaloni the coach.’
On the accusation that he has picked the Argentina team over the years he said: ‘Kun [Aguero] has said many times: “I am a big friend of Leo’s and I am on the bench”. If I had that much power Kun would be in the team.’