Argentina captain Lionel Messi's doctor explains why he would not want his country to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Dr. Diego Schwarzstein, who played a fundamental part in kickstarting Lionel Messi’s footballing career, has admitted that he wouldn’t want his country, Argentina, to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Schwarzstein successfully treated Lionel Messi after he was diagnosed with Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD) as a nine-year-old. Four years after his treatment began under Schwarzstein, Messi was recruited by Barcelona (2001).

Before leaving, he gifted his doctor a signed Newell’s Old Boys jersey, which read “For Diego, with love from Leo Messi.”

Messi has not forgotten his doctor, with him inviting Schwarzstein’s son to the Barcelona dressing room a few years earlier. Despite sharing a great relationship with the Paris Saint-Germain man, a part of Schwarzstein does not want Lionel Messi to win the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Schwarzstein feared that the government would use Argentina’s success as a cover-up and make drastic decisions when the country wasn’t looking.

Speaking to The Times, he explained:

“As a football fan, I would like Argentina to be champions. As an Argentine citizen, as a human being, I would like them to lose all three games and be eliminated in the first round. Why? I’m convinced that this obscenely populist government that we have here would use the success of Argentina at the World Cup to cover things up.

“They could announce the devaluation of the currency on the day that the team play, when no one is focused on that.”

Under Argentine president Alberto Fernandez, inflation in the country has reached a staggering 83%, with banks regularly running out of money. Schwarzstein claimed that the current crisis the country was going through was by far the worst he had seen.

He added:

“I’ve lived through many crises in this country, but this is the worst.

“The data from the government says that to not be poor you have to earn 120,000 Argentine pesos per month (£636). The minimum [monthly] wage is 60,000 pesos, so even those who have work, are poor.”

Argentina, who are placed in Group C alongside Saudi Arabia, Poland, and Mexico, begin their journey with a clash against the former on 22 November.

Lionel Messi is an early favorite for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball

The FIFA World Cup Golden Ball is awarded to the best player over the course of the tournament, making it a highly prestigious accolade. While Lionel Messi is yet to kick the ball in Qatar, it would not be wrong to dub him an early favorite for it.

Lionel Messi comes into the tournament in great form, with him scoring 12 goals and claiming 14 assists in 19 games for PSG in the 2022-23 season. He also looked razor-sharp in Argentina’s final preparatory match against UAE on 16 November, scoring once and claiming an assist.

If he can keep up the good work and take La Albicelste deep into the tournament, he could end up winning the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball for the second time (previous win: 2014). No player in FIFA World Cup history has won the Golden Ball twice.

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