Nahuel Guzman, Argentina’s backup goalie, has requested his teammates to reduce the burden on their talisman, Lionel Messi.
Lionel Messi is the centre of attention for Argentina as they are drawn in a Group D with the likes of Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria. The Barcelona superstar will be carrying the burden of the expectations of fans all over the world and Nahuel Guzman has urged the squad to help the little magician by taking collective responsibility.
“Of course Leo is a very important figure to us. We have to know how to be with him. He has to let us too,” he told a news conference Wednesday.“And we have to, somehow, take away the responsibility he already has. He feels it too. We also have several figures to be a friend to him and make him feel good.”
Guzman added: “I’ll try to be with him at any moment. I will try to lift him up if I see he’s doubtful. And we hope to be able to celebrate, next to him, each game. We have to be calm that Leo’s fine.”
— Selección Argentina (@Argentina) June 13, 2018
Guzman’s claims about Messi being overburdened is true as Los Gauchos were heavily reliant on Messi with the No.10 scoring 7 while only featuring in half of the games.T he two-time holders had a patchy qualifying run finishing third where they scored 19 goals, which is the lowest bar Bolivia.
Recent tournament experiences have not been memorable for the South American nation as it fell short on the final hurdle to Germany at the 2014 World Cup and twice to Sampaoli’s Chile in the penalty shootout of the Copa America finals. Messi dragged the team to the finals on all the above occasion before ultimately succumbing to the weight of the expectations.
Argentina are expected breeze past the group stage when they make their 17th appearance on the biggest stage of football. With this being possibly Messi’s last shot at the World Cup, the players need to step their game up and do it for the little man.
Jorge Sampaoli is known to have a demanding system with the Chilean going on record to say that he hasn’t had enough time with the squad. But with an undeniably exceptional forward line, they are expected to reach the latter stages of the tournament. It will be interesting to see if Argentina can overcome their mediocre midfield and clear defensive frailties to conquer the world once again.