Dismayed Messi after Argentina crashed out of the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia (photo credit: Getty Images)

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni says he is still keeping the team’s number 10 jersey for their inspirational captain Lionel Messi amid the player’s perceived unwillingness to continue playing for the side.

Messi has not featured for the two-time world champions after their poor run at 2018 World Cup, as he missed his country’s friendlies against Guatemala and Colombia.

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But Scaloni still believes that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will decide to prolong his international career and return for international duties.

“In this time, the 10 shirt belongs to Messi and it will stay this way until he decides if he will continue with us or not,” the new coach said.

“We aren’t closed to that chance so I chose to keep this number for him. In the future we will see, but if you look at the players who played the World Cup you will see they kept their numbers, and we wait for the future to see what happens, but so far no one is using the 10 because it is exclusive for him and that is my decision. There is nothing else about this.”