What's the story?
Barcelona and Argentina captain Lionel Messi has slammed the media for constantly attacking his national team, stating that the scrutiny is exactly why any of the players refuse to talk to the fraternity.
In case you didn't know...
Messi famously has a strained relationship with the Argentine media, having constantly been chosen to be the scapegoat for the national team's failings in recent years.
The 31-year-old has often been criticised for his inability to replicate his form in Barcelona and inspire his compatriots to an international title.
After having lost the final of the FIFA World Cup in 2014, Messi returned to the national team and represented his nation in the tournament once again last year, only to crash out early. Following the disappointment, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner took a break from international duty for the rest of the year.
The heart of the matter
Speaking in a lengthy interview with 947 FM Radio (via Mundo Albiceleste), Messi said,
"This generation had to deal with things that no other Argentina team had to deal with. So for people to say such crazy things and so many lies with a straight face, to be honest, I never saw that before. This group got to do great things. We played in a World Cup final… We played in two Copa America finals. It’s not easy to get to that point. The media is a mess. That’s why we brushed them aside and didn’t want to speak to them because if we didn’t take care of ourselves and strengthen one another, they’d keep attacking us."
Messi also denied that there was a 'friends club' that was influencing decisions in the team.
"The Club of Friends is something that I’ve heard for years. I was supposedly the one that made up the lineups, brought in the coaches and I virtually ran AFA. The Club of Friends happened to be the best at their clubs. It gets me upset to hear it."
"They also said my father had power within AFA. It’s just crazy. My family suffers. I have friends, family in Argentina that suffer because of all the things that the media say. Anyone says anything and people don’t question it. They actually believe it."
"Then I become the m**********r while my dad runs AFA. It’s just crazy."
"We got to a point were just stopped caring about what people said. Maybe we should have come out sooner. But if we did, we’d be coming out every day to clarify. Every day something new came out. Every day people lied. Maybe we were wrong in not coming out."
Barcelona, who are at the top of La Liga, return to league action tonight when they face Espanyol in the Catalan derby.Published 30 Mar 2019, 11:51 IST