Stop blaming Messi for Argentina's defeats, says Sampaoli

Stop blaming Messi for Argentina's defeats, says Sampaoli

Lionel Messi's mother, Celia Cuccittini, said her son has been deeply affected by criticism of his performances with Argentina and insists he wants nothing more than to win the World Cup.

Argentina's Lionel Messi misses a penalty.

Spain secured their first victory at this year's World Cup following Diego Costa's second-half strike, but a defensive Iran were making life hard for Fernando Hierro's side.

"For those who criticise him, they should have seen him suffer and cry [for Argentina], as we have", she explained in an interview with Channel 13.

"Messi does not have any substitute here, in Barcelona or anywhere in the world". Messi may have to live with never winning a World Cup, and hopefully fans will agree with Crespo: he doesn't have to win one to be considered a legend. Argentina lost to Germany in the quarterfinals in 2006, and the coach's decision to bench Messi for that game led to his resignation. "I think that's quite unfair". Messi is a fantastic player.

Brazilian great Pele won the World Cup, as did Argentine icon Diego Maradona, while Ronaldo broke his duck on the worldwide stage as Portugal landed the Euro 2016 crown two years ago.

Do you think Dybala and Messi should start together in Argentina's next match against Croatia?

"Luckily the nationality of the best player in the world is Argentinian", added former Chile and Sevilla boss Sampaoli.

The diminutive Argentine captain known as "La Pulga" (The Flea) has won every club accolade imaginable with Barcelona, but has agonizingly missed out on worldwide trophies both at the World Cup and Copa America. "You made a mistake, I made a mistake, we all made a mistake".

"Football, the World Cup, would not be the same without Messi".

Messi may have been frozen out by Iceland yesterday, but he will be offered a second chance to get his World Cup up and running when Argentina play Croatia on Thursday.

"Messi is not Maradona, he doesn't win a World Cup by himself".

He dare not fail again.