BUENOS AIRES – An uncharacteristically angry Lionel Messi revealed on Friday how he struggles to deal with criticism of his performances for Argentina's national team, saying that even his six-year-old son was questioning why he was judged so harshly in his country.
The 31-year-old's return to the national side last week after an eight-month absence was marred by a humiliating 3-1 loss to Venezuela in a friendly. A groin strain then forced him to sit out an unconvincing 1-0 victory over Morocco.
"My six year old son Thiago asked me why they were killing me in Argentina. He watches videos on YouTube all the time, and he asks me why they don't want me," Messi said.
"I have to go through those things, but it doesn't matter."
The Barcelona star took a break from international duty after a disappointing World Cup last year, but his highly anticipated return proved a flop as Argentina lost to unfancied Venezuela in Madrid.
"I want to win something with the national team, and I'll keep trying," Messi told Argentine radio station Radio Club October.
He said he would continue to play for his country even though "a lot of people told me not to do it, not to suffer again."
Argentine fans and journalists have often taken their frustrations at under-par performances by the national team out on Messi, who is always expected to perform at the levels he does for Barcelona, where he is surrounded by star players.
Messi hit out at repeated lies about him in the media.
"People buy into everything that's said. So then I'm the 'son of a bitch' and the ones that feel the hurt most of all is my family. There are many lies told. There are new lies every day."AFP