Former Argentina defender Oscar Ruggeri has told Lionel Messi to stop playing for Spanish giants Barcelona and focus more on having a successful World Cup campaign with La Albiceleste.
Messi has enjoyed a successful career with Barcelona with whom he has won several titles and individual honours but is yet to lay his hands on the coveted World Cup trophy.
The 30-year-old came close to winning it four years ago in Brazil but Argentina fell to a 1-0 loss to Germany in the final.
Barcelona have little to play for in the remaining part of the campaign as they have almost won the La Liga title and are out of the Champions League.
“Do you think Barcelona will lose the Spanish championship if Messi doesn’t play again?” Ruggeri, who played a key role in Argentina’s 1986 World Cup-winning squad, told 90 Minutes Fox.
“Messi can call the Barcelona president and tell him ‘this is my World Cup; I’m going to dedicate myself to the national team’.”
Ruggeri also suggested that the mercurial forward should be giving his full support to Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli by prioritising events in Russia this summer.
“He [Messi] must also call the national team coach and tell him that he is going to be completely concentrated on the World Cup,” he added.
“Before Mexico 1986 we had 65 days to focus, 65 days before the World Cup we were all together.
“What do you think the rest of the players are going to do if Messi goes to focus with the coach?”
The South Americans are in Group D along with Nigeria, Croatia and Iceland.