Argentina ups ante on Lionel Messi persuasion with statue dedication

Detail of Lionel Messi statue at Paseo de la Gloria in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Amilcar Orfali/STR/LatinContent/Getty Images

Lionel Messi might have declared his retirement from the Argentina national team, but that isn’t stopping the nation from putting on a full press in hopes he’ll reconsider.

We’ve already seen the country’s president Mauricio Macri and La Albiceleste legend Diego Maradona urge the Barcelona maestro to change his mind, but now the ante has been upped to something more concrete. Or perhaps bronze.

The city of Buenos Aires unveiled a statue of Messi on Tuesday, with the mayor of the capital, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, on hand for the dedication. "… I think (it is) a good way to ask Leo to come with us, and to remain together with us and for him to take us by the hand and to win," Larreta said via Omnisport.

And statue dedication aside, how would they hope to convince Messi call off his retirement? Through the power of social media, of course.

"… Take your picture with the statue of Leo and post it on social media as a way to ask Leo to stick with us," Larreta said.

While the whole statue production is likely more fortuitous timing than a commissioned work to try and lure the five-time Ballon d’Or winner back into the fold, you can’t blame them for trying.

Despite Argentina’s missteps under Messi, there’s no way their odds to win the 2018 World Cup go up without La Pulga pulling the strings. For now, we’ll be left to watch and wait to see if Messi reverses course. Maybe more presents will help!