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Messi Has Gun Called World Cup Pointed at Him, Says Argentina Coach

Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli believes that the pressure in international football in today’s day and age is rather negative and it does more damage to the likes of Lionel Messi who have the weight of the world’s expectations on his shoulders.

News18 Sports

Updated:March 26, 2018, 6:50 PM IST
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Messi Has Gun Called World Cup Pointed at Him, Says Argentina Coach
Lionel Messi. (Image credit: Reuters)
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Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli believes that the pressure in international football in today’s day and age is rather negative and it does more damage to the likes of Lionel Messi who have the weight of the world’s expectations on his shoulders.

Sampaoli in his book "My Heartbeats: Ideas Regarding the Culture of Play," which releases next week in Argentina writes about the joys of coaching ‘the best player’ and the pressures he faces going to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

In an excerpt from the book that appeared in the Clarin magazine, the former Sevilla coach says, “A revolver called the World Cup is put to his head and if he doesn't win it, it fires and kills him. It's madness that he cannot enjoy his talent."

"He is a competitive leader who wants to win it all every time," he wrote. "A competitive animal, which makes him very Argentine. Who doesn't want for Messi to achieve his best?"

The Albiceleste have not won anything internationally since the 1986 World Cup, and with Messi at the helm they have lost three finals on the bounce - two Copa Americas to Chile and the 2014 World Cup to defending World Champions Germany.

Having completed a year with the Argentine national team, Sampaoli believes the biggest challenge for him is to get the rest of the squad to up their game a few notches so that it helps the Barcelona man put in a more expressive performance.

Sampaoli writes, "The biggest challenge is to optimize the team so that it does not minimize itself because of the presence of such an important and crucial player." "The rest ought to be compatible with him and that is not very easy."

Argentina almost missed out on a spot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but a timely hat-trick from none other than Messi against Ecuador in the final qualification game in October 2017 ensured that the 2014 runners-up would not miss the flight to Russia.

The Barcelona man, though is currently recovering from a muscle injury and did not play the international friendly against Italy in Manchester recently, and is likely to sit out the tie against Spain on Tuesday as a precautionary measure.

| Edited by: Abhimanyu Sen
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