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Ayala hails Messi return to end Argentina trophy drought

Mohamed Hamdhoon
30 August 2016, MVT 09:47
Former Argentina captain Ayala plays the ball during the exhibition match between the Maldives' 2008 championship winning team and the current national team at the Maldives National Football Stadium on August 29, 2016. MIHAARU PHOTO/NISHAN ALI
Mohamed Hamdhoon
30 August 2016, MVT 09:47

Former Argentina captain Roberto Fabian Ayala believes that the current generation players are highly talented and the trophy drought of Argentina will come to end very soon.

Speaking to local media on a visit to Maldives to play an exhibition match Ayala, who has 115 international caps to his name, said the fact that Argentina reached three major finals in the last two years shows that they are among the football elite.

“This generation of football in Argentina is in particular very good. They are so good they reached last three final,” Ayala who was the captain when Argentina won Olympics gold in 2004 said.

Ayala who won Spanish La Liga with Valencia and Italian Serie A with AC Milan also welcomed Lionel Messi's decision to reverse his shock decision to retire from international football.

Messi had announced his international retirement after Argentina lost in the Copa America Centenario final against Chile on penalties, Messi crucially missing his penalty in the shoot out.

It was the third time Messi's Argentina had lost a major final in three years after a 1-0 World Cup final defeat to Germany in 2014 and another penalty shootout reverse to Chile in the 2015 Copa America.

The five-time World Player of the Year reversed his decision three weeks ago after new Argentina manager Edgardo Bauza payed him a visit in Spain to change his mind.

“Not only a good group of players, also to have best player (Lionel Messi) in the world. A trophy will come again in the near future,” Ayala added.

Ayala played for Argentina in 1994, 2002 and 2006 World Cup. Having world top players, they have failed to win an international trophy since 1993 Copa America. They lost to Germany in 2014 World Cup final and were defeated by Chile in both last year's and this year’s Copa America.

Ayala and Xavi pictured before kickoff of the exhibition match between the Maldives' 2008 championship winning team and the current national team at the Maldives National Football Stadium on August 29, 2016. MIHAARU PHOTO/NISHAN ALI

Regarded as one the best Argentine defenders of all time Ayala, played for Maldives national team who won 2008 South Asian football champions against current national side. Ayala came on as a sub and showed his defensive skills to football crazed fans packed inside the national football stadium in capital Male.

Spain and Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez, flown in as a chief guest for the match was also in attendance.

Ayala also spoke about Maldives, the tourist destination for many Europeans especially top level footballers.

“Very happy to be here. Enjoying very much the time here with my family. And in particular having this invitation is a dream come true for my wife which was to come to Maldives once,” Ayala said.

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