Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez. Getty Images
Carlos Tevez has urged Lionel Messi not to retire from international football in the wake of Argentina's disastrous World Cup campaign.
Messi struggled under the weight of expectation in Russia as Argentina crashed out in the round of 16, leading to rumours he could retire from international football for a second time. But Tevez wants him to stay on and believes more could be done to get the best out of his country's star man.
"I think Leo has to think about himself," Tevez 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 try to rest, that he keep 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."
The fallout from the World Cup debacle saw Jorge Sampaoli leave his role as Argentina manager -- and the Argentine Football Association (AFA) are favouring Peru boss Ricardo Gareca as a potential replacement.
However, Tevez says Jose Pekerman, who led Argentina to the quarterfinals at the 2006 World Cup, deserves another chance in charge.
"I think that the closest we were of winning a World Cup was with Jose [Pekerman]," Tevez added. "When I felt closest to winning the World Cup was with Jose. If we had beaten Germany [in the 2006 quarterfinals], 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 manager] quietly because he knows what is being talked about "