BUENOS AIRES (AP) ― Lionel Messi is trying to ease the pressure on himself ahead of Argentina’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers, saying Tuesday he can’t win matches all on his own.
The Barcelona star made the comments on his arrival in Buenos Aires before Friday’s game at home to Chile and next Tuesday’s match away to Venezuela.
Messi has never played as well for Argentina as he has for Barcelona.
However, in this year’s Copa America he was the best Argentine player, although the team was still knocked out in the quarterfinals on penalties by eventual champion Uruguay.
“No one player alone wins a game,” Messi told reporters. “This is true with the national team, with Barcelona and everywhere. It’s important the team plays as a team.”
Messi has gone 16 games without scoring for Argentina in official matches ― seven in World Cup qualifiers, five in the 2010 World Cup and four in the Copa America.
Messi will share the spotlight with new coach Alejandro Sabella, who was brought in after Sergio Batista was fired following Argentina’s exit from the Copa America in July. Sabella has guided Argentina in four friendlies, but the match against Chile will be the first that really counts.
The former coach of Argentine club Estudiantes has received favorable reviews in his first matches, showing more tactical acumen than Batista or Diego Maradona.