Argentina captain Lionel Messi heaps praise on Real Madrid transfer target and calls him 'spectacular' 

Lionel Messi lauds Real Madrid-linked midfielder Enzo Fernandez
Lionel Messi lauds Real Madrid-linked midfielder Enzo Fernandez

Argentina skipper Lionel Messi has showered Real Madrid-linked midfielder Enzo Fernandez with praise, calling him an integral member of Lionel Scaloni’s team.

Enzo Fernandez has been one of Argentina’s most impressive players at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Not only has he run the show in the middle of the park, but he has proven to be quite a handful in the opposition box as well.

Fernandez, 21, was on the scoresheet in La Albiceleste’s crucial Group C win over Mexico. Receiving a short corner from Lionel Messi in the 87th minute, Fernandez took a couple of touches inside the box and found the top-right corner with an unstoppable curling effort. His strike served as an insurance goal for Argentina, with them cruising to a 2-0 victory over the Mexicans.

After the game, Lionel Messi lauded Fernandez for his display, calling him a sensational footballer. Messi, as relayed by Argentine outlet Ole, said:

“Enzo does not surprise me, I know him, I see him train every day, I played against him in the Champions League and he deserves it. He is a spectacular boy and a very important player for us.”

Having grown pessimistic about signing Jude Bellingham, Real Madrid are believed to be considering alternatives. According to The Real Champs, Fernandez, who joined Benfica from River Plate in the summer transfer window, has emerged as a target. It has been claimed that Real Madrid had an eye on Fernandez during his time at River Plate but never made a move.

Portuguese giants Benfica, who can keep Fernandez at the club until June 2027, are unlikely to sell him to Real Madrid for cheap. They are also not expected to let the player leave in the January transfer window.

Lionel Messi could make history by scoring against Netherlands in the 2022 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals

Lionel Messi, who has scored thrice and claimed an assist in four games in Qatar, will look to inspire Argentina to a quarter-final win against the Netherlands on 9 December. Scoring against the Dutch on Friday would also take the Argentinian to a very special milestone, making him the joint-top scorer for Argentina in World Cup history.

Lionel Messi has thus far scored nine World Cup goals (23 games) in his decorated career. He only needs one more goal to equal Gabriel Batistuta’s World Cup tally and go down in history as La Albiceleste’s joint-top scorer at the tournament.

Reaching the milestone against the Dutch will not be easy, however. Louis van Gaal’s side are unbeaten in 19 games and have conceded only twice in four games so far. The Paris Saint-Germain maestro will need to bring his A-game to breach the Dutch rearguard at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on Friday.

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