Luis Suarez defends Messi in Copa America

Messi has scored once in three Copa America games as Argentina limped to the quarter-finals in Brazil. The forward has struggled to inspire his country to world or continental success in 133 senior appearances, garnering criticism from his homeland. Such is his revered talent, it has been suggested Messi breaks rank and can influence team selection for club and country.

But Barcelona team-mate and close friend Luis Suarez has quashed those rumours, speaking from experience at Camp Nou.

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“He does not say a word,” Suarez told Fox Sports.

“Not about a coach, a player, nothing. And in the Argentina team I think it’s the same.

“There were coaches who asked him things and he would say: ‘No, don’t ask me anything, make the decision yourself.’”

Messi struggles to replicate his performances for Barcelona in an Argentine jersey and retired from international football in 2016, only to reverse his decision after widespread pleas for him to stay.