Argentina's Lionel Messi

From his team-mates, to schoolteachers and even the country’s president: everybody in Argentina pitched in to try and convince Lionel Messi to change his mind after announcing his retirement from international football.

And when you look at the team’s record with and without the captain, that clamor was hardly surprising.

Argentina dug deep to take a 2-2 draw against Venezuela on Tuesday, with Messi back in Barcelona recovering from an injury.

It was the fifth match in which he has played no part during this World Cup qualifying campaign, and his absence has often been sorely felt by the nation.

With Messi in the team the Albiceleste boast a perfect record, having won three out of three games against Chile, Bolivia and Uruguay, with four goals scored and just one conceded.

But in the five games he has missed Argentina have won just once, against Colombia in 2015.

A defeat against Ecuador was followed by draws against Brazil and Paraguay at the start of the qualifying campaign, and Tuesday’s result means Edgardo Bauza’s team have taken just six points out of the 15 on offer without their talisman, scoring four and conceding five reports

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Michael Eli Dokosi is a journalist and a formidable writer with a decade's experience. He is a blogger as well who currently owns and manages the news portal The site is a wholesome news platform with entertainment, political, general, sports, negroid and foreign news offerings with the tagline 'More than Straight News' because of its alternate take on issues. The blakkpepper name emerged because the site is Afrocentric and hot. The Managing Editor can be reached via cell line (+233) 0249907425 & (+233) 0262907425 and via email for adverts, enquiries and news coverage invites.