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'Don't leave, Leo' - pleads Argentine President after unveiling Messi statue in Buenos Aires

Dozens of emotional fans wearing Lionel Messi's number 10 jersey waited in the rain carrying banners that asked their captain to reconsider his decision to retire

Jaideep Chakrabarty 29 June 2016, 11:04 PM
Lionel Messi statue unveiled at Buenos Aires

Lionel Messi statue unveiled at Buenos Aires Image: AFP

Lionel Messi has finally become Rocky Balboa. A country that always tagged him 'the outsider' unveiled a statue of their captain at Buenos Aires. (Read: Messi quits Argentina)

Argentina is on its knees, pleading. (Read: Aguero to quit?)

Lionel Messi shocked Argentina and the whole world with his unexpected retirement after Chile defeated Argentina 4-2 on penalties in the Copa America final.

The Barcelona star returned to Argentina on Monday but avoided commenting on his abrupt resignation from the national team.

Dozens of emotional fans wearing the white and sky-blue striped jerseys of the national team, adorned with Messi's number 10, waited in the rain for the team to return from the tournament in the US.

Some followed the team bus along the road leading from the airport to the Argentine Football Association complex.

They waved flags and chanted, ''Messi is not leaving!" They carried banners. One of them read: "Messi: I love you more than I love my mom."

Although Messi could not be seen on the bus, AFA spokesman Ernesto Cherquis Bialo confirmed to The Associated Press that he had arrived in Buenos Aires with the rest of the team.

Fans, players, Argentina's President and even the country's greatest player, Diego Maradona, have pleaded Messi to reconsider.

Will he oblige?

Only time will tell.

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