Lionel Messi has reiterated his commitment to Argentina's national team and hit out at "lies" about him in his homeland. The 31-year-old ended an eight-month self-imposed exile from international football against Venezuela last week, but could not prevent a 3-1 defeat in Madrid. He then missed the Albiceleste's 1-0 win over Morocco on Tuesday because of a groin complaint.
His absence stirred controversy in Argentina with some mediaoutlets pointing out that Messi attended the baptism of Cesc Fabregas'schildren on Sunday and trained freely with Barcelona on Wednesday, reportsXinhua news agency.
"People said I went back because of a baptism,"Messi told Argentina's Radio 94.7 Club Octubre. "It's nonsense. It hurtsme that people lie. I don't hear or see these things, but my family suffers.Some will make up anything and people buy it. They say my father runs AFA (theArgentine Football Association) and that he does what we want. It's alllies."
Of his fitness, the Barcelona No. 10 said: "The truthis that I have had this pubis problem since before the break in December. Ihave been playing less. In the last few years, I have been taking care ofmyself.
"(Argentina coach Lionel) Scaloni knows that and that'swhy he decided I shouldn't travel (to Morocco), that the rest would be good forme."
Messi also spoke of Argentina's disappointing 2018 World Cupin Russia, where the team was eliminated in the last 16 by eventual championsFrance. He said he is determined to win a major trophy for the Albiceleste,having lost the finals of the 2014 World Cup and the Copa America in 2015 and2016.
"If I didn't want to (win titles), I wouldn't play for the national team," he said. "Nobody is forcing me to. I want to win something with this team. I want to be here and I want to play in all the important competitions.