Lionel Messi demands Argentina improvement ahead of 2018 World Cup

Doug Mendoza
December 8, 2017

Having been drawn with Nigeria, Iceland and Croatia in Group D in next year's tournament, the five-time Ballon d'Or victor expressed worries about the threat posed by the Super Eagles to his country's chances of reaching the second round.

"I never went back over the finals we lost". As we are today, we are not far from that although there are better teams than us such as Brazil, Germany, France and Spain. We deserved to win them, in spite of not playing that well.

"Because we have been in the national team for many year, we have played several Copa America, previous World Cup".

Higuain was left out of Jorge Sampaoli's squad for Argentina's final two World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Ecuador in October. "We still had the best chances, both in the World Cup and Copa America", he said.

"I would have to review them to see what we did wrong so we don't repeat them".

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Messi and his teammates have had a tumultuous relationship with the Argentine media, boycotting them 12 months ago due to what the national team perceived as unfair treatment.

"Having said that, he needs to be in the Argentina squad". "Criticism went above and beyond what is normal and became personal", he said. The bitterness we feel is because we know what awaits us if we do badly.

"People are waiting for this group to leave because it has not won for a long time and those who criticize get exhausted of always seeing the same faces", Messi told TyC Sports.

Messi was named on the bench for their final two group games against Juventus and Sporting Lisbon. "What I have are memories", he said.

"I have come to understand that the season is long and that some periods are more important than others", he explained during an interview with TyC Sports.

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