Argentina coach defends Lionel Messi

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Lionel Messi was suspended following an incident that occurred during the match between Argentina and Chile on 23 March 2017. (Image: Daily Mail)

Kolkata: They say, “You should never ignore class.” Yes, form is temporary and class is permanent. Argentine megastar, Lionel Messi may have been facing some rough weather in recent times, but according to his national coach, Edgardo Bauza, he is still capable of winning the World Cup for Argentina and be hailed as an all-time great. And to refute rumours of Messi set to end his contract with Barcelona after it expires in 2018, Bauza pointed out, “I can see just how happy he is at Barcelona with his family around him.” Speculations have been rife that Messi may shift to Manchester City, but Gauza’s statement puts all of that to rest as of now.

“Of course when Leo is happy that helps him give his best performance, morale is crucial for form. A footballer is happy when he is playing and winning, otherwise he is rarely happy,” said Bauza. However, Gauza would leave it to Messi to take the final call. “At Barcelona, Manchester City or wherever, that’s his decision to take. I just want him to play and that’s all. He’s the type of player who always wants to be on the pitch, never wants a rest,” he said.

Messi in recent times hasn’t shown glimpses of his true class and after losing the FIFA Player of the Year Award and Ballon d’Or, 2016 to Cristiano Ronaldo, his critics have sharpened their attacks at him. Messi also announced his retirement from international soccer after Argentina lost to Chilie in the Copa America Cup final last year only to withdraw it later.

However, the Argentine superstar has maintained a studied silence leaving it to his skills on the ground to silence his critics. Messi would know how to take criticism as he has faced a lot over the years. And with his coach jumping to his defence, he is on the right track.

Gauza challenged those who questioned Messi’s potential and added that the number of trophies he had had bore testimony to his credentials as a champion player. “Some say the fact he’s won nothing with Argentina means he’s not the best in the world, not the most dangerous, not worth as much as some others,” said Bauza adding that his team would leave no stones unturned to win the next World Cup. “But we are going to try and win this next World Cup, which will make him one of the greatest of all time,” the Argentina coach said.

(With inputs from AFP)

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