Stop relying on 'genius' Messi

Stop relying on 'genius' Messi
The coach of the Argentine national football team, Alejandro Sabella.

GROUP F

ARGENTINA 1

(Lionel Messi 90+1)

IRAN 0

Messidependencia has truly taken hold. Argentina are in the grip of the most seductive of addictions.

They are aware of the potential danger of being devoted to one intoxicating individual. They know they run the risk of weakening the collective spirit.

But they can't stave off something quite so captivating; just one more hit, one more high, one more last-minute goal against Iran and they'll reduce their dependence on a single man. But they won't. Why would they want to?

Geniuses are addictive. Argentina's gravitational pull revolves around The Little Flea.

Both Messi and his coach Alejandro Sabella tried to suggest otherwise but convinced no one.

"Our team are a very united team, we all share a good relationship," said Sabella in his post-match press conference after the 1-0 win over Iran yesterday morning (Singapore time).

"But, of course, we have a genius in Messi. Everyone would like a Messi. But luckily, he belongs to Argentina."

He laughed. Even he was not immune to the attractions of Messidependencia. That's what the South Americans call it here in Brazil. And there is no escape.

Even Messi struggled to brush away the mild interrogation after he swept his country into the knock-out stages with one swish of his laser-like left foot in the final minute of an otherwise lacklustre outing at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte.

"I don't think the Iranians were marking just me," he claimed, failing to swat aside the suggestion that he was a marked man.

"They marked all the players. The last two matches were like this. Both teams were defensive, so it was hard for me and Angel di Maria to create much space."

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