Argentina goalkeeper on Messi: He makes us very happy

Argentina goalkeeper on Messi: He makes us very happy
Argentina fans hold up portraits of Argentinian player Lionel Messi during the Group G football match between Portugal and Ghana at the Mane Garrincha National Stadium in Brasilia.

Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero on Messi:

They are happy he is leading them because that means they don't have to face him.

And Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero also believes the team is "lucky" and privileged to have Lionel Messi at their disposal, reported fourfourtwo.com.

Messi has almost single-handedly carried title contenders Argentina into the second round of the World Cup by scoring four of their six goals, including a stoppage-time winner against Iran. Their last-16 clash against Switzerland is on Wednesday morning (Singapore time).

Said Romero: "He always does something different - we are lucky to have him.

"It's hard to find words to define Leo's awesomeness.

"He makes us all very happy to have him at this level and as a team he will help you to keep playing this way. "Messi is an absolute star.

"He's just a different player. I enjoy seeing him play. Thank goodness I don't have to mark him!"

And he's not the only one singing Messi's praises with the Argentine newspaper's ecstatic over his performances.

"Messi can do it all. Thanks to him, the national team won and reached the round of 16 unbeaten and leading (Group F)", the daily La Nacion trumpeted on its front page, above a photograph of Messi celebrating his second goal of the tournament alongside players Angel Di Maria and Marcos Rojo.

Big dreams

The daily Clarin said a "brilliant Messi," affectionately nicknamed "the Flea," was allowing Argentines to "dream bigger."

Sports daily Ole went even further in its praise, saying: "Everybody kneel" before Messi, since "The world continues to bow to Leo (Messi)..."

The daily Cronica was just as effusive, saying the star player was so adept on the field, he appeared to be "from another planet".

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, however, refused to be drawn into a comparison between his forward Neymar and Messi, famously saying last week that he would offer a definitive answer in 15 years' time.

The 22-year-old Brazil star is currently second joint top scorer in his first World Cup along with Messi and Germany's Thomas Mueller, on four goals.

Colombia's James Rodriguez leads the goalscorers' charts with five goals.

Pablo Zabaleta has told his Argentina team-mates they must improve collectively if they want to win the World Cup.

Argentina topped Group F with three wins from three thanks, in part, to Messi's goals.

But the Manchester City defender insisted they'll have to get better if they want to progress.

Zabaleta said: "Beyond having qualified first, we know that there is always room for improvement and can work to adjust.

"We are entering a decisive phase in which there is no margin for error.

"I think the important thing was learning about how rivals may pose threats in matches and how important it is to be more cautious about some things, and braver in other situations.

"Now the situation is different because each stage is crucial. We hope our rivals are more open and we can take advantage of these spaces. The important thing is to keep the balance."

There have been growing concerns over the past weeks regarding Argentina's over-dependence on 27-year-old Messi and the comparisons with former Argentina captain Diego Maradona in the 1986 World Cup when he led them to their second title.

That is why Argentina's veteran Maxi Rodriguez, 33, has called for focus as his team prepare for their Round of 16 clash against Switzerland in Sao Paulo.

"Our mentality is always the same," Rodriguez said.

"In the World Cup, you have to be focused 100 per cent.

"It is a reality that great teams were eliminated at the beginning. We had never thought that it could happen.

"I think that if you are not concentrating, any team can win."

When you wear this shirt, you feel inspired. This is the most beautiful thing that can happen to a player, to wear this shirt in a World Cup."

In the World Cup, you have to be focused 100 per cent. It is a reality that great teams were eliminated at the beginning. We had never thought that it could happen. - Argentina veteran Maxi Rodriguez


This article was first published on JUNE 30, 2014.
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