Carlos Tevez has told Lionel Messi not to retire from international football following Argentina's chaotic World Cup in Russia.
It was a forgettable campaign for Messi and Argentina, who were eliminated by eventual champions France in the last 16 at Russia 2018 as Jorge Sampaoli later departed.
Argentina's tournament was marred by reports of unrest following a 3-0 group-stage defeat to Croatia after a 1-1 draw with Iceland left the South American giants on the brink of a humiliating exit.
Messi – still searching for his first senior international title – and Argentina managed to sneak into the knockout phase thanks to a last-gasp win over Nigeria but the team's shortcomings were exposed against France.
The international future of five-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi is uncertain after the 31-year-old retired briefly following Argentina's Copa America final loss to Chile in 2016.
Tevez urged Argentina to do more to ensure the country's all-time leading goalscorer can succeed on the world stage.
"I think Leo has to think about himself," Tevez – a 76-time Argentina international – told ESPN. "He has to think that, if there is not a project that makes him happy and in which he feels comfortable, it is very difficult to take the responsibility of leading Argentina to become champions by himself.
"We are wasting a lot of time not having him happy and not being able to give him a hand to achieve that target. I think we are wrong in not being able to help him feel comfortable.
"As a player and as an Argentine I tell him that we need him, that he tries to rest, that he keeps a cool head and that we need him. We need him because he is the soul of Argentina and, as long as he continues playing football, it has to be that way because he is Argentina's biggest idol and he has to take that responsibility.
"Now [I tell him] to rest, keep a cool head and try to be well, then we need him to take charge and on the pitch."
#Comunicado Tras la salida de Jorge Sampaoli, la AFA informa que al día de la fecha no se ha iniciado ningún tipo de gestión ni se ha dialogado con ningún entrenador. El próximo 31 de julio, en reunión de Comité Ejecutivo, la dirigencia evaluará los pasos a seguir. pic.twitter.com/qo492V2BWv— AFA (@afa) July 18, 2018
In the meantime, the focus is on Argentina replacing former head coach Sampaoli.
Peru boss Ricardo Gareca and Colombia's Jose Pekerman have been linked with the vacant post.
Pekerman led Argentina at the 2006 World Cup and Tevez – who was part of the squad that reached the quarter-finals in Germany – believes the Argentine Football Association (AFA) should bring back the 68-year-old.
"I think that the closest we were of winning a World Cup was with Jose [Pekerman]," the 34-year-old forward added. "When I felt closest to winning the World Cup was with Jose. If we had beaten Germany [in the 2006 quarter-finals], we knew we were going to be champions and we lost on penalties.
"Jose's era has taught me a lot from when I was a kid, I am very grateful to him, to Hugo Tocalli, to professor [Gerardo] Salorio to [Eduardo Julio] Ortasun... because today I am what I am because they put a grain of sand in what I was. I will always be grateful to them because they taught me a lot.
"They taught me to be a professional at 14 years old and today I continue at 34. It is essential to start as a child. From my personal experience, I think Jose is the man who can do it [be Argentina coach] quietly because he knows what is being talked about."
|BREAKING NEWS: Messi out of Clasico with fractured arm|
|Awesome Ashton marks Sale bow with hat-trick|
|Klopp hopes for positive Henderson prognosis amid Liverpool injury issues|
|Benitez ´convinced´ Newcastle can survive despite seventh defeat|
|Barcelona 4 Sevilla 2: Messi injured but champions go top|
|Kovac relieved by Bayern´s timely victory|
|Strasbourg 2 Monaco 1: Sy howler and Grandsir red card cost Henry in first match|
|Leicester City defender Chilwell signs new six-year contract|
|PSG´s Tuchel hopes Verratti and Di Maria can face Napoli|
|Liverpool star Salah had no fear during scoring drought|
|Alonso´s 2019 plans not damaged by McLaren´s IndyCar decision|
|Edinburgh outclass troubled Toulon, Wasps and Bath play out thrilling draw|
|Barca concern as Messi substituted with worrying arm injury|
|Howe: South coast derby draw a fair result|
|Our heads were in Manchester – Allegri left fuming at Juventus´ loss of focus|
|Derby County 2 Sheffield United 1: Marriott blunts Blades with 77th-minute winner|
|We have so many problems – Jokanovic alarmed by Fulham defensive woes|
|Huddersfield Town 0 Liverpool 1: Salah snaps winless streak|
|Pellegrini ruing injuries after Yarmolenko hurts ankle|
|Villarreal 1 Atletico Madrid 1: Simeone´s side denied LaLiga top spot|
|Gracia: Not easy to dominate Wolves like that|
|Isner´s Finals hopes hindered by Stockholm defeat|
|Dyche incredulous at refereeing decisions in Man City thrashing|
|Juventus 1 Genoa 1: Champions´ winning run ends despite record Ronaldo goal|
|´Fantastic´ Lamela urged to find consistency by Pochettino|
|You don´t want to lose any players - Young speaks out on Wade NFL speculation|
|Championship Review: Smith gets off to a winning start, Leeds beaten|
|Guardiola hails extraordinary Fernandinho after Burnley drubbing|
|Pochettino lauds Lloris as one of world´s best after West Ham heroics|
|Paris Saint-Germain 5 Amiens 0: Ten wins in a row for PSG as Neymar rests|
|Cristiano Ronaldo nets record 400th league goal|
|Marcelo backing beleaguered Lopetegui despite Madrid slump|
|Garcia dazzles to hit the front at shortened Valderrama Masters|
|Cardiff City 4 Fulham 2: Paterson gets Bluebirds off the mark|
|Newcastle United 0 Brighton and Hove Albion 1: Benitez´s men bottom after dismal defeat|
|West Ham 0 Tottenham 1: In-form Lamela settles London derby|
|Manchester City 5 Burnley 0: De Bruyne returns in comfortable win|
|Wolves 0 Watford 2: Capoue and Pereyra turn form book on its head|
|Bournemouth 0 Southampton 0: Howe´s side stifled by Saints|
|Prove you´re crazy about Inter - Spalletti rallies players ahead of Milan derby|
|Wolfsburg 1 Bayern Munich 3: Lewandowski leads Kovac out of trouble|
|Goerges betters Bencic to clinch Luxembourg title|
|Morgan wants more from ´rusty´ England despite series win|
|Sarri says sorry after touchline bust-up overshadows Chelsea´s late escape|
|Chelsea draw an ´awful´ result for excellent United, says Mourinho|
|The Chelsea assistant that angered Mourinho - Who is Marco Ianni?|
|Steve Kerr supports Colin Kaepernick: ´I think he deserves a chance to play´|
|Lopetegui ´more motivated than ever´ amid Real Madrid sack reports|
|That´s football – Rudiger shrugs off late Ianni-Mourinho fracas|
|AC Milan´s improved mentality could be difference against Inter - Gattuso|
|Emotional Kasatkina comes back from the brink to win Kremlin Cup|
|Forget it, it´s over - Mourinho accepts apology over touchline row|
|Mourinho in furious bust-up with Chelsea staff after late equaliser|
|Chelsea 2 Manchester United 2: Barkley strike denies Mourinho|
|Raptors star Kawhi Leonard: Too early for MVP chants|
|WTA Finals 2018: Profiling the ´elite eight´|
|Cipriani sent off and facing ban for high tackle|
|Real Madrid 1 Levante 2: Lopetegui on the brink as abysmal run continues|
|Warriors coach Kerr: Jerebko ´one of us´ after game-winning tip-in|
|Real Madrid break record for longest goalless run|
|England wrap up ODI series in Kandy rain|
|Melbourne Victory 1 Melbourne City 2: Honda scores but suffers losing start|
|Mata starts for United as Chelsea boss Sarri selects Morata|
|Dovizioso prepared for another Marquez duel|
|Isco returns as Bale makes the bench for Real Madrid|
|Maddison feeling at home with Puel´s Foxes|
|Ruthless Australia beat Tonga in historic Test|
|Pep talks helped Mendy make the most of his time out of action|
|Wantaway Butler revels in boos|
|Emery: Arsenal must be calm with returning Koscielny|