While millions of FC Barcelona fans worldwide are yet to come to terms with the team’s quarter final exit from the UEFA Champions League last Tuesday, Argentina’s football fans and media are delighted with the fate that befell the Catalan side.
They reasoned that the painful exit of the former champions from the competition will enabled their recuperating super star and five-time Ballon Dor winner, Lionel Messi recovers fully and be ready to face Nigeria and other foes at the World Cup in Russia beginning June 12.
Argentina is hoping Messi would be fresh enough to lead them to the World Cup glory.
A prominent newspaper Ole wrote that ‘Fatigued, Messi didn’t show up for Barcelona and they suffered a historic elimination against Roma. He will reach Russia with less stress on his body but with the disappointment of missing the final rounds of the Champions League.’
“Perhaps the most important thing is that he can definitively recover from his hamstring problem, which doesn’t allow him to play normally,” he paper stated in its editorial.
Another major media, Clarin, said that “national team needed Leo out of the Champions League. He was playing on the verge of a muscle injury and now we must prioritise his physical state over that of the soul.”
For La Nacion: “It can do his body good to lighten the load in the face of the World Cup. But this slap doesn’t help the footballing prestige of Messi, or Barcelona. As many of their successes and disappointments are also his. Beyond saving energy, these defeats are unsettling.
“(Jorge)Sampaoli won’t be worried as he believes Messi’s competitive genes will keep him out of harm’s way. Messi is obsessed with Russia and that voracity won’t be stopped by a surprise elimination,” the medium noted.
With Barcelona’s Champions League elimination, Messi will now resort to managing his playing time for the club to ensure they get the needed seven more points to rap up Laliga glory and concentrate on the final match against Sevilla in the Copa Del Rey which comes up this Saturday in Madrid.
It is expected that after next weekend final in the Spanish FA, the mercurial players will play less for the team and be focused to shine at the World Cup finals which probably might be his last.
For now only three foes including Nigeria are confirmed to play the South American nation in the group stage of the tournament and Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr, is already hoping that Argentina wins its first two games and thus excuse Messi from the final group match against his team.
“If Argentina wins its first two games, Messi may not want to play against us, that’s another possibility,” Rohr was quoted by www.fcbarcelonalive.com.
With this calculation, the Super Eagles coach hopes that Argentina will tame Iceland in the opening match and win again against Croatia in the second game before facing Nigeria in the last group tie.