Carlos Tevez leaps to Lionel Messi's defence, says AFA is a mess

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Buenos Aires, July 2: Argentine striker Carlos Tevez has leapt to the defence of the talismanic Lionel Messi after the latter announced he is retiring from international football.

Messi decided to quit playing for the national side as they lost 2-4 on penalties to Chile in the Copa America final on Sunday. This was the 29-year-old's fourth loss in a major final representing Argentina. They had earlier lost in the 2007 and 2015 Copa finals, as well as the 2014 World Cup decider.

Carlos Tevez (right) of Argentina's Boca Juniors, left, fights for the ball with Santiago Romero

In his farewell speech Messi had said he was done playing for the white and blue and army.

Tevez believes Messi's decision was also partly due to his anger with the Argentine Football Association (AFA).

"The AFA is an absolute mess," Boca Juniors captain Tevez was quoted as saying by TyC Sports on Saturday.

"Leo sees the players breaking their backs for the shirt and sees the AFA neglecting them. We have to put ourselves in his position. He is tired, and that's normal. I also got tired of the national team a few times."

The Boca Juniors captain also believes Messi should return to the side as the country still needs him.

"We have to give him time. It is obvious that we need him," Tevez, who has played 76 times for Argentina, said.

"After a few games have passed and everything at the AFA is a bit more organised, perhaps the national team can seduce him back -- and we will be waiting for him."

IANS

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