Lionel Messi unfairly blamed for Liverpool debacle, claims Argentina great

  • Lionel Messi should not be criticized for Barcelona's shocking loss to Liverpool, according to Mauricio Pineda.
  • The former defender also blames Pablo Zabaleta for Lionel Messi's lack of success with the national team.
Modified 22 May 2020, 14:45 IST

Pineda stated that Messi gave everything he had against Liverpool
Pineda stated that Messi gave everything he had against Liverpool

In a sensational interview with South American news channel Cadena 3, former Argentinian player Mauricio Pineda slammed Lionel Messi's critics and praised the Argentina captain for trying his best in the country's colours.

The former Argentina defender also criticised the country's selection committee and controversially claimed that Pablo Zabaleta was not the ideal fit for Lionel Messi in the national team.

“Zabaleta was not the number 4 that Messi needed in the Argentina national team. He needed someone who would attack a thousand times, who would generate space. Like Jordi Alba, who’s a player that has never dribbled through anyone but goes attacks like a mad man.”

Pineda claimed that Lionel Messi's exceptional performances with Barcelona are further accentuated by his telepathic relationship with left-back Jordi Alba.

The Spaniard has combined with Lionel Messi on several occasions to create danger for the opposition in the final third.

Lionel Messi not to blame for Barcelona's Anfield horror story

The Argentina legend pins all the blame on Ousmane Dembele
The Argentina legend pins all the blame on Ousmane Dembele

Pineda also said that Lionel Messi must not be blamed for Barcelona's shocking defeat against Liverpool in the 2018-19 Champions League.

“Messi continues to be the best in the world. He scores two great goals against Liverpool, Dembele misses a one on one chance and Messi is to blame? If I was Leo's teammate, I would have gotten into the dressing room and asked for forgiveness.”

Lionel Messi's Barcelona dominated the first leg of the 2018-19 Champions League semi-final at the Camp Nou. The Blaugrana talisman scored two goals in the match and inspired the team to a 3-0 victory. Lionel Messi's second was a sumptuous free-kick that was caressed into Allison's top corner with near-scientific precision.

Ousmane Dembele had a golden opportunity to add to Lionel Messi's incredible performance and add a fourth goal in stoppage time.

The French winger missed a simple one-on-one chance, however, and Lionel Messi went on to lament his team's stunning defeat to an inspired Liverpool at Anfield.

Messi has been compared to Maradona throughout his career
Messi has been compared to Maradona throughout his career

Mauricio Pineda was also aghast with the fact that Lionel Messi, despite his best efforts, does not command enough respect from his countrymen.

“How could they say that Messi doesn’t feel the shirt like Maradona? He played 80 matches a year, never sees his family in Rosario, lost the world cup final and he goes on to play in two Copa America trophies."

Pineda went on to accuse Lionel Messi's sceptics of hypocrisy and said they had no right to judge Lionel Messi's feelings for his country.

"They don’t back Messi, they don’t even back him with 10% of what they backed Maradona. That Diego today would kick out 4 players per match."

Lionel Messi has faced constant criticism from several prominent Argentine personalities, including Diego Maradona himself, for not being able to add to Argentina's trophy cabinet.

Lionel Messi has often been unfairly accused of underwhelming performances with Argentina. Some critics have taken the scepticism a step further and have questioned Lionel Messi's dedication to his country.

Lionel Messi took Argentina to the final of the 2014 World Cup, where the team lost to favourites Germany by the narrowest of margins. Lionel Messi also controversially won the Ballon d'Or and has repeatedly declared his unwavering allegiance to Argentina.

Mauricio Pineda's statements will certainly help boost the Argentina captain's morale after a tough few years with the national team.

Published 22 May 2020, 14:45 IST
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