Lionel Messi said that he may retire from international football if Argentina fail to win this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
The Barcelona forward has never won a major international trophy and has something of a difficult relationship with fans of the national team.
And he has claimed he is ready to “give up” on the national team if Argentina fail to win their first World Cup since 1986.
“We feel that, if we won’t win the World Cup in Russia, the only way will be to give up the national team,” Messi told La Cornisa.
“I dream of winning the trophy in Russia. My wish is to live something similar to Brazil 2014. You can do everything OK and fail, like Argentina in Brazil.”
Messi has walked away from the international team once before – in 2016 after Argentina lost the Copa America final to Chile.
However he eventually reversed his decision and helped Argentina to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
On Sunday, he scored for the sixth consecutive game as Barcelona tightened their grip in the title race with a 2-0 LaLiga win over Athletic Bilbao.
Messi took his tally for the season to 38 with a fine finish from the edge of the penalty area.
Paco Alcacer had already put the hosts ahead at the Nou Camp, and the leaders went on to canter to a routine victory against a Bilbao side grateful they were not more soundly beaten.
Barca took the lead after only eight minutes, with Messi predictably at the heart of the move.
The Argentina forward, fresh from his two goals in the midweek Champions League win over Chelsea, danced his way into the area before laying the ball off to Jordi Alba.
Alba reached the byline before cutting the ball back to Alcacer, who was left with a simple side-foot finish past Bilbao keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Messi had already had a couple of sighters when he got on the scoresheet on the half-hour mark.