Demanding Messi told Sampaoli to axe two players during World Cup

Argentina forward Lionel Messi reportedly told manager Jorge Sampaoli to drop Federico Fazio and Giovani Lo Celso during this summer’s World Cup.

The 2014 runners-up struggled to live up to expectations in Russia, scraping through their group before being eliminated by France in the last 16.

Reports in the past have suggested that Messi holds an unprecedented level of influence over national team selection, particularly since reversing his decision to retire from international football last year.

Argentine publication Clarin reports that the Barcelona talisman told Sampaoli to drop both Fazio and Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Lo Celso as he thought that they were not performing at the required standard.

Messi has been tipped to retire from international football again following their disappointing World Cup showing, although he is yet to make an official announcement on his future.

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