Argentina legend heaps praise on Lionel Messi

Argentina legend Walter Samuel has praised Lionel Messi after their country’s triumph at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. They defeated France 4-2 in penalty shootouts to lift their third World Cup title.

Samuel, who featured as a central defender for La Albiceleste at the 2002 and 2010 FIFA World Cups, traveled to Qatar as manager Lionel Scaloni’s assistant. The 44-year-old has seen Messi up close on the pitch on various levels.

He appeared eight times alongside the former Barcelona forward as teammates for the national team, while facing him thrice as an opponent during his time at Inter Milan. He is now a coach with Argentina’s senior team and was present in Scaloni’s backroom staff in Qatar.

Following their World Cup triumph, Samuel was honored in his home city of Firmat in Santa Fe. During the event, the former AS Roma defender praised Messi and said (h/t MinutoUno):

“He’s [Lionel Messi] the captain of the team, he never gets nervous and he’s always enthusiastic.”

Samuel then said that he is blessed to have trained alongside two of Argentina’s greatest players ever – Diego Maradona and Messi. He continued:

“That’s why I am touched by the magic wand, since I played with Maradona in Boca and he directed me in the World Cup in South Africa and now I had Messi.”

Samuel joined Boca Juniors from Newell’s Old Boys in 1997 – the same year Maradona retired from playing football at the Argentinean club. The 1986 World Cup winner then coached the national team at the 2010 World Cup in South America, where Samuel made two appearances.

They were eliminated in the quarter-finals at the hands of Germany, who won 4-0. Both Lionel Messi and Samuel can put that disappointment behind them as they finally got their hands on the winners’ medal earlier this month.

Samuel recalls Pablo Aimar crying when Lionel Messi scored for Argentina vs Mexico

Argentina got off to the worst possible start to the Qatar World Cup as they lost 2-1 to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in their opening game.

The following game against Mexico assumed increased importance as a result. Lionel Messi broke the deadlock in the 64th minute before Enzo Fernandez’s late goal sealed a 2-0 win.

Samuel claimed that Argentine legend Aimar, who is part of Scaloni’s backroom staff, cried after seeing the ball go in. He continued, via the aforementioned source:

“At that moment I did not realize that Aimar was crying. But later, when we saw the images, we all laughed a lot. It was understandable because the pressure of the previous days after losing in the debut with Saudi Arabia was so great that it didn’t even let us sleep.”

Aimar represented Argentina as a player at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups. He represented the South American nation 52 times during 1999-2009 and has eight international goals under his belt.

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