Messi to focus on World Cup glory

La Liga

Reports in the Spanish media claim Lionel Messi has told his Argentina team-mates he will prioritise World Cup glory over Barcelona.

The 30-year-old will be part of the Albiceleste side that tries to gain automatic qualification for the 2018 World Cup against Ecuador on Tuesday night.

They sit sixth in the qualification table and must be in the top four to progress straight to Russia, while a fifth-place finish will seem them face an inter-confederation play-off.

Messi has been unable to inspire the South Americans during qualification and they have won only six of 17 games to date, but Spanish media outlet Don Balon is reporting that he is desperate to play in Russia and will sacrifice his Barcelona form to achieve his international aims.

Argentina will need to get there first and that is no guarantee as they are away from home against Ecuador and lost 2-0 at home to La Tricolor when the sides met two years ago.