Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) superstar Lionel Messi will lead Argentina’s attack when they travel to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup tournament later this year. Ahead of the competition, former Albiceleste manager Jorge Sampaoli has hailed the five-time Ballon d’Or winner as a genius and a silent leader.
Sampaoli had the privilege to work with Lionel Messi when he was in charge of Argentina between 2017 and 2018, notably leading the squad into the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Although they didn’t succeed in the competition and crashed out in the round of 16, the tactician still holds the PSG maestro in high regard.
During an interview with Chilean outlet ADN Deportes, Sampaoli couldn’t help but praise the PSG and Argentina captain for his ability to read and understand what is happening on the pitch. The tactician told ADN Deportes, in quotes carried by GOAL:
“Directing Messi is directing a genius, he is a person who is above everyone, he knows even when are you going to lose and when are you going to win. With two glances, he gives you a parameter of what is happening, he is a silent leader, but he understands what is going to happen.
Jorge Sampaoli went on to claim that Lionel Messi knows if a team that has prepared itself has no chance of winning. According to the Chilean, this is what makes the Argentina captain a genius. Sampaoli added:
“He knows when the team that has prepared itself has no chance of winning, he knows, beyond his technical abilities and his ability to read the game, that’s why he’s a genius.”
Lionel Messi’s contract talks with PSG on hold till World Cup
Messi is already in the final year of his contract with PSG. According to Spanish outlet Marca, the Parisians are pleased with the Argentine’s stint at the Parc des Princes and have already approached him to discuss a one-year extension.
However, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner isn’t ready to make any decisions over his future yet and will wait until the World Cup concludes. He confirmed this during an interview in March, as quoted by GOAL:
“After the World Cup, I’m going to have to rethink a lot of things, whether it goes well or badly. There is a wonderful group here. People love me a lot and every day they show me more. I am very grateful. It does me good every time I come to Argentina. After the Copa America win, much more.”