Former Argentina midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron said the team must stop depending on Lionel Messi in order to develop the rest of their squad after their FIFA World Cup debacle.

Argentina huffed and puffed to the Round-of-16 round before being brushed aside by eventual champions France 3-4.

Messi, who scored a sublime goal in Argentina’s last group game against Nigeria to haul their campaign back on track, is yet to discuss his international future. He has already come back from retirement once.

The runners-up in the 2014 World Cup, Argentina also finished second at the Copa America in 2015 and 2016.

“It’s time to build a group. Obviously, if Leo is eager (to be part of the national team), they would need to involve him little by little,” Veron was quoted as saying by ESPN Argentina.

“I think we have to prepare the base and once and for all think about a team and not think about someone who can save us. Even more at this time, watching other national teams and how they faced the World Cup, it seems essential to think about a group.”

Argentina are also expected to zero in on their next coach after Jorge Sampoli parted ways with the Albiceleste owing to a poor World Cup campaign.

Pochettino is reportedly Argentina Football Association president Claudio Tapia’s top choice and Veron also thinks on similar lines.

“Obviously, Pochettino’s name is seductive any way you look at it,” Veron said.

“But I think that to offer him something, you have to have something well-armed. Present him a platform and see how he can fit into that.

“The candidates are those who we are all thinking about,” Veron said.

“But we have to see those who are available because I don’t see it as something simple… I think the best are Pochettino and Simeone.”

Argentina will face Guatemala and Colombia in friendlies in the US in September.