Messi forgoes opportunity to be the world's highest paid player

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Lionel Messi has defended Gonzalo Higuain, claiming the Juventus striker is one of the best in the world and deserves to be in the Argentina squad.

Messi still felt bitter at having lost the two Copa America finals and the World Cup 2014 final. The 30-year old's contract was set to expire in the summer, leading to speculations over his future with former manager, Pep Guardiola, on the horizon at Manchester City.

Messi was coaxed back into the fold and produced a hat-trick against Ecuador as Argentina only made the finals in Russia by winning their last qualifier, and he does not believe the current group will be afforded another opportunity to win silverware in the Albiceleste jersey.

"I have a family and my children come first, and then me".

"I believe that this period without the national team did him good".

"And a part of that doubt is due to the way the country is at the moment", added Messi.

He subsequently reversed his decision and will be the linchpin of a talented Argentina side as they aim to win the World Cup next year.

"I think if we do badly in this World Cup, we all have to disappear from the National Team". But it's true that we have to improve if we aspire to be world champions.

"Mascherano? I'm not going to tell you what he told me, but I'll understand if he leaves, he wants to play more".

"As far as I am concerned, Higuain is one of the best centre-forwards in the world". However, he was hopeful that Sampaoli's team can improve as they will have a month to work on their game before the tournament begins.

"I would have to review them to see what we did wrong so we don't repeat them". "I have learnt that the season is long and that there are times which are harder because the years fly by and now my body pays the price fof playing so many matches", Messi admitted.

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