Carlos Tevez blasts Lionel Messi's critics after Argentina's Copa America loss
Carlos Tevez has defended his Argentina teammate Lionel Messi who had come in for criticism from some of his countrymen, including Diego Maradona, for his perceived failures with the national team, ESPN reports. The Boca Juniors forward claimed that had he been in Messi’s shoes, he would not bother to play for Argentina after receiving such remarks.
Argentina coach Gerardo Martino had also claimed earlier in the month that he would have quit Argentina had he been Messi though he has since backtracked on his comments.
“If I were Messi and had to listen to the criticism he has had, I would not return,” Tevez said.
“He has to really love the Argentine shirt to keep coming back.”
Tevez, himself has had tough times with the national team, as he was kept out of the squad by former manager Alejandro Sabella who didn’t pick him even once in his three years in charge of the Albiceleste. He said that his situation dwarfs in comparison to what Messi is going through at present.
“Look, I have been through difficult moments but regarding the national team, he has been through the worst," Tevez said. "You can criticise a player who didn't play well or who wasn't fit for a match, but you can't say he doesn't step up."
The 28-year-old has won every trophy possible with his club side Barcelona but has often been criticised for his performances for his national team. The situation imploded after Argentina failed to overcome the final hurdle in their last two major tournaments in the space of a year.
The South American nation lost to Germany in the 2010 World Cup, where Messi incidentally won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player. This summer they lost to Chile in the Copa America final prompting the angry reactions from the supporters.
Argentina were unlucky to lose Copa America final
Tevez feels that Argentina were unlucky that they couldn’t win the latter.
“If we had lifted ourselves up with just 20 percent more of what we already had, we would have won the Cup," he said. "It was a huge blow.”
Tevez had some harsh words for the journalists who he claimed had played a major role in the Messi issue.
“As a journalist, you have to give a message each day. You can be in agreement or not, you can like a player or not like him, but you can't kill him like that,” Tevez said.
“You just can’t say awful things outside of football about him as they have, you just can't.”