Piechniczek: Lionel Messi could be a substitute for Argentina at the World Cup

Former Poland coach Antoni Piechniczek has dismissed Lionel Messi’s threats to Poland and others at the World Cup this winter, citing the Argentine midfielder’s age as a reason to appear to have slowed down.

Lionel  Messi has not been in good form since joining Paris Saint-Germain last summer, despite still making good numbers for the French club.

But Piechniczek, who coached Poland at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, says that seeing the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner against Poland “would be great if Messi was five or six years younger.

“Let’s face it – Messi is still the boss of the jungle. He is no longer the player he was a few years ago and it remains to be seen what role he will play in the World Cup.”

Messi on the bench?

Piechniczek went on to suggest that Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni could have the No.10 starting on the bench this winter.

“He may be placed on the bench given his current level,” added Piechniczek. “He can play the role of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sweden. He will play the last 15-20 minutes, replacing him.”

Despite the extraordinary exit from a world-class player, Piechniczek has admitted that Messi could still play a key role in Argentina.

“He can have a hot race, I can’t waste it,” said Piechniczek. “There are always surprises.

“But seeing what he looks like with PSG, he is no longer Messi as he used to be.”

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