The Barcelona star seemed totally stuck after once again the blue and white has failed to impress him at the world cup.
“I just feel so sorry for Lionel Messi,” Zabaleta told the BBC. “This was his last chance to win something with Argentina – so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him retire from international football after this.
“He’ll be so disappointed and it’s another four years until Qatar.”
Argentina capitulated after goalkeeper Willy Caballero’s howler gifted Ante Rebic the opening goal on 53 minutes before Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic struck late on to earn Croatia a convincing win.
Zabaleta added: “The people in Argentina will be so angry now. You expect more from those players.
“They were so close to winning it in Brazil then they lost two Copa Americas in a row.
“The people in Argentina are so hungry for this World Cup, and they will not accept this.
“The manager has to sit with the players and have a real conversation about what’s going on.
“I’ve never seen a performance like this by Argentina. Never before. There was a lack of spirit and it’s very strange to see.
“In the second half we weren’t good enough. I think after the Willy Caballero mistake it was mentally very difficult for the players to come back and win the game.
“All Argentina’s players play for big clubs – they should have done much, much better.
“I’ve never seen Nicolas Otamendi look so uncomfortable in a game – he was making all sorts of mistakes – at Manchester City you never see him miss a pass.
“And Marcos Rojo has been playing for Manchester United – in a back three – so I can’t see why he was left out today.”
Here are some of the Tweets after the match expressed by the fans
If Argentina don’t go through, Messi should retire and stay retired man
— CJ (@__sparkyboyy) June 21, 2018
They should’ve just let Messi retire in peace
— Nwankwo Canoe (@NaiRobley) June 21, 2018
Lionel Messi should retire immediately without damaging his name further
— Sai Dileep (@Dileep_Arc) June 21, 2018
Messi should retire from international football and not come back
— gabrielghali (@gabrielghali) June 21, 2018
Messi should retire from the national team to protect his image Ah
— Shabito_FE (@XigiMafia) June 21, 2018
Argentina are awful! And Messi should retire now he is playing worst! #ARGCRO
— Christian_crusader (@orban_fan01) June 21, 2018
Messi should simply retire. This team has tarnished his image too much.
— GAGZY-GAGA GRIMM (@OgagaOdokuma) June 21, 2018