Lionel Messi’s drastic decision to announce his retirement from international football after Argentina’s Copa America final defeat to Chile has profoundly shook the country.
His compatriots don’t want the Barcelona forward to move forward with his decision and are joining together in a bid to change his opinion.
To do that, a group of supporters have called a demonstration for Saturday by the Obelisco de Buenos Aires. They are using the slogan “Everyone to the Obelisco. Messi don’t go #NoTeVayasLio” in a bid to mobilise as many people as possible in the hope of showing that all the country is by the 29-year-old’s side.
“Look what we have achieved, we are the only country capable of criticising the best in the world and now he doesn’t have any motives to continue wearing the national team’s shirt. On Saturday (July 2) at 18.00h everyone go to the Obelisco to show our affection and our desire for him to continue representing Argentina. Come on Messi, don’t let up on us!!!” say those organising the event.
There are already nearly 50,000 people who have confirmed their presence and the list continues to grow.
Since Messi announced his retirement from international football there have been a growing number of people asking him to make a U-turn. Among them have been Argentina president Mauricio Macri and Diego Maradona.
Maradona said: "Those saying he should quit don't want us to see what a disaster Argentine football has become.
“Messi must go on. Messi has to stay because he will reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia in conditions to become world champion.
"The lads have to be supported more to help him take the team forward."
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Argentina president told AFP that "[Macri] called [Messi] and told him how proud he feels of the national team's performance and asked him not to listen to the criticism.”
Gerard Pique and Dani Alves have also had their say on the matter, with the latter calling on Messi to take a decision with a “cold head” and after spending a few days reflecting on things with his friends and family.