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Messi stars for Barcelona ahead of Argentina talks

Goal.com logo Goal.com 11-08-2016 Ben Hayward
Lionel Messi Barcelona Sampdoria Joan Gamper © Provided by Goal Lionel Messi Barcelona Sampdoria Joan Gamper

Lionel Messi put on a star show in front of new Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza at Camp Nou on Wednesday night - and the 29-year-old will meet the Albiceleste boss for talks in Barcelona on Thursday.

Barca were back in action to finalise their pre-season preparations in the annual Gamper Trophy and Messi shone in a 3-2 win, setting up Luis Suarez for the first with an outrageous overhead assist, before nonchalantly netting a second and then adding another with a fantastic free-kick.

Watching from the stands, Bauza must have been incredibly impressed. The new Argentina coach has travelled to the Catalan capital for talks with Messi and Javier Mascherano, hopeful of bringing back the forward to the international fold after his recent retirement from the Albiceleste.

Messi missed a penalty in the shootout as Argentina lost the final of the Copa America Centenario in June and announced afterwards that he had decided to walk away from international football.

"The national team is over for me," he said in the mixed zone after the match. "I tried a lot. It hurts not to be a champion with Argentina and I leave without achieving it. That's it."

After the loss, Gerardo Martino stepped down as coach and after a long search, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) named Sao Paulo boss Bauza as his successor.

The 58-year-old is a former Argentine international who knows all about the frustration of losing a major final for his country, having sat on the bench as the Albiceleste were beaten by West Germany in the 1990 World Cup final.

"The greater the challenge, the bigger the frustration," he told Telam on Wednesday. "And it's difficult to deal with that."

And on his date with Messi, he said: "We're going to talk about football. I understand why he said what he said. He is frustrated by many things that happened. That's why I want to speak with him calmly."

The meeting will take place on Thursday, with Messi and Mascherano possibly present at the same time. And having watched Leo shine in a Barca shirt on Wednesday night, Bauza will hope to be able to call upon the world's best player to lead Argentina to the World Cup in Russia and one last tilt at glory in 2018.

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