Lionel Messi will represent Argentina once again at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, according to national team masseur Marcelo D’Andrea.

Last Sunday, the Barcelona talisman shocked the football world by announcing his international retirement after Argentina lost to Chile on penalties in the Copa America Centenario final.

“I have no doubts that Leo will play at the [2018] World Cup,” D’Andrea was quoted as saying by “I have a lot of faith in him and we must leave him alone for now. I trust him in his silence. He loves the national team and he will do everything for his country.”

Following the 4-2 loss on penalties, a visibly distraught Messi said that it hurts not to be a champion despite reaching four finals, adding that “the national team is over for me.”

This was the fourth time Messi has tasted defeat in a major tournament final. Apart from losing three Copa America finals (2007, 2015, 2016), the Messi-led Argentina were also beaten by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final.

D’Andrea also revealed that Messi didn’t notify his decision with the camp, admitting that the Copa America loss was the hardest blow the Argentine had received in his career.

Despite winning eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues with Barcelona, Messi’s only major international honour is Olympic gold at the 2008 Games.

The Barcelona star said his decision came about due to the pain of suffering so many defeats, but some — including Tevez — feel it was partly due to his poor relationship with the AFA.

“The AFA is an absolute mess,” the Boca Juniors player told TyC Sports. “Leo sees the players breaking their backs for the shirt and sees the AFA neglecting them.

“We have to put ourselves in his position. He is tired, and that’s normal. I also got tired of the national team a few times.

“We have to give him time. It is obvious that we need him. After a few games have passed and everything at the AFA is a bit more organized, perhaps the national team can seduce him back — and we will be waiting for him.”