Argentine head coach Lionel Scaloni believes that superstar captain Lionel Messi will be successful in the current national team environment with the 2021 Copa America champions.
Messi has been criticized in the past for his performances for Argentina pale compared to his club performance. He dominated with Barcelona until 2021 after winning a club record of 35 trophies and becoming the La Liga giants all-time top scorer.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner led Argentina to their first silver jewelry in 28 years after La Albiceleste dethroned the Copa America final in 10 games.
“It’s very difficult that [Messi] did not play with the national team, ”said Scaloni at a press conference ahead of the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifier with Peru on Thursday.
“There will be moments and team moments and I think that’s the most important thing in the end.”
Paris Saint-Germain’s Messi, who overshadowed top Brazilian goalscorer Pele as the all-time scorer for a South American nation in the last international break, scored his 80th international goal on Sunday when Argentina overtook Uruguay 3-0 .
“The team is the one that moves the situation forward, that makes him even better,” added Scaloni. “I think he’s good on the team and feels comfortable with his teammates. All of that makes it even better.
“It is clear that his performance is not reflected that way without the team. Today we are doing well as a group, as a team and that is the most important thing. “
# SelecciónMayor ¡Glorioso mural!
¡Dale Campeeeeón, Dale Campeeeón! pic.twitter.com/PHpl74pKaU
– Selección Argentina (@Argentina) October 13, 2021
Scaloni also welcomed Sergio Agüero, who was getting fit in a training match against Barcelona on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old, who was involved in Argentina’s Copa success, has not played for Barcelona since moving from Premier League champions Manchester City in the off-season due to a calf injury.
Argentina – second in the qualifying standings – have only scored 18 goals in 10 qualifying games, with Aguero potentially increasing their attacking opportunities for the November games against Uruguay and Brazil.
“For him, like the other guys who couldn’t play, the most important thing is that they play for their club and make it difficult for us,” said Scaloni.
“We have a team with a huge hierarchy, a team of great strikers and the final decision is the most difficult. We are interested that you play for your club, that you perform well and that we have time to make the decision.
“Obviously we like that they play and that they are in continuity and that’s what we expect from the guys who are not there.”