The Argentine FA has had a bad few weeks, and it doesn't look like it's about to get any better
Lionel Messi, who was sentenced to jail on Wednesday, has set the Argentine FA (AFA) a very difficult task if they want to get him to come back to the national team.
Given that it's a non-violent crime with a sentence of less than two years, the Argentine will not go to prison, but after making it to four finals with the albiceleste and coming off second best in all of them, he has decided that his time wearing the stripes of national team is over.
Clearly, the shorter breaks between seasons over the past few years have taking a toll on his energy levels, but the disappointment of all those losses has had an impact on the player too, as he desperately wanted to win a trophy with the national side.
With that in mind, Diariogol report that he has set the AFA a very difficult task if they hope to get him back into the fold ahead of the World Cup in 2018.
They report that the Barcelona star wants to spend at least a few months away from the national side, and will only return if he sees that there is an attractive footballing project underway, a large part of which would be determined by the manager that they convince to take the job.
Specifically, Messi wants to see Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone take charge of the national team, or Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, two managers who have a clear footballing style and can impose an identity on the Argentine side, something which has been sorely missing over the past few years.
Despite just signing for Sevilla last week, the man who brought glory to Chile, Jorge Sampaoli, is also rumoured to be interested in the job. While the AFA see him as a strong candidate, he has apparently been told that if he wants to leave for the Argentina job, he would need to start "by finding a good lawyer."
For their part, the AFA have been in complete crisis over the past couple of weeks, with manager Tata Martino handing in his resignation, and a leadership crisis to boot, not to mention a recent bomb scare at their offices in Buenos Aires.
The chances of either Simeone or Pochettino taking the job appear to be slim as a result, meaning it may also be a very difficult task to coax Messi back to the national team.