Roberto Ayala: Lionel Messi can expect Argentina shelter amid PSG struggles


Lionel Messi might be going through strife with Paris Saint-Germain, but he has received a timely reminder of how highly he is valued by Argentina.

Ahead of this year’s World Cup, Argentina’s assistant coach Roberto Ayala said Messi could find a place in the national team and emphasized that the club’s affairs were not a major concern.

After PSG’s shocking thrashing of Real Madrid in the Champions League last week, Messi is one of the players that the club’s fans were attracted to on Sunday’s 3-0 win over Bordeaux in Ligue 1.

According to former River Plate and Valencia defender Ayala, Argentina has no worries about its captain and long-term talisman.

“For us [the beating of PSG] is not a problem because it separates here from the national team,” Ayala told La Red.

“We see Messi very well. He is a flexible guy when he comes to the national team. He is very blocked by the team and wants to see him as part of the team.”

The Argentine team running to Messi at the end of the Copa America final last year showed solidarity between the playing team.

The team is safe to know that their World Cup ticket has been booked ahead of the final qualifiers against Ecuador and Venezuela, named for Messi.

Apart from looking at the level of football, the harmony and role of Messi within that the head coach Lionel Scaloni and his staff will look to work together, heading to Qatar.

“The best team has ever been created,” Ayala said. “They enjoy it. The training goes the way we want. It’s easy because they make it easy for us, they don’t have long faces.”

Concerning Messi, he added: “To many, you are an idol but you are also on our side, and you want to be treated as one of others.

“I see him [Messi] as a leader not only on the field but also who sees that he speaks with small hands. That is very important to us.”

However, the 48-year-old assistant still feels that Albiceleste needs to be tested by Europe’s best team before the tournament in November, and has also suggested whether he could join the UEFA Nations League.

“I think Argentina will be called up to the UEFA Nations League, which was set up to play evenly,” he said.

“Later, we will be able to participate and have the conflict we need. We aim for the players to come in good shape.”

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