Lionel Messi has hit out at reports he was set to take a break from international football after failing to lift the Copa America with Argentina earlier this year.
The Barcelona star faced intense criticism from some in the local media after the Albiceleste captain saw his side go down to hosts Chile on penalties in the final, with some going as far as suggesting he take extended leave from the national team.
Argentina coach Gerardo Martino backed the Barcelona forward but admitted he himself would have walked away were he subject to the sort of abuse that was directed at Messi.
“I never said that I wasn’t going to play any longer with the national team,” Messi told ESPN Radio.
“[The media] can’t kill me any more than they already have.
“I am used to them saying these types of things. Now we have friendlies and as long as the coach calls me up I am going to continue to be present.”
Messi, 28, was included in Martino’s squad to face Bolivia and Mexico in the United States next month.
The four-time Ballon d’Or winner has hit 46 goals in 103 internationals, leaving him just 10 strikes behind his country’s all-time top goalscorer, Gabriel Batistuta.
Messi has claimed an Olympic Gold medal and an Under-20 World Cup title but Argentina are without a major trophy at senior level since Copa America 1993.