“He Indifferent to It” – The Instance Messi Instructs Otamendi Not to Hand Him the Captain’s Armband

The defending World Cup winners didn’t need their superstar as they made it three wins from three in qualifying.

Lionel Messi did end up making an appearance, featuring off the bench as a substitute. As it turns out, though, Argentina didn’t really need him to take care of Paraguay in Thursday’s World Cup qualifying clash at the Estadio Monumental.

Argentina got their goal early from an unlikely source as another familiar face led the way in the 1-0 win. That unlikely source? Defender Nicolas Otamendi, who fired home a fantastic volley just three minutes in. Argentina, meanwhile, never looked back.

Thanks to fantastic performances from the midfield trio of Alexis Mac Allister, Rodrigo de Paul and Enzo Fernandez, Paraguay never really got a sniff of the game. By the time Messi came into the match early in the second half, replacing an otherwise-fantastic Julian Alvarez, it felt like the game was only going one way.

Messi hit the post twice, despite looking far from his best, but it wouldn’t come back to bite Argentina, who made it three wins from three in CONMEBOL’s qualifiers as they march on in their World Cup defense.

Rodrigo De Paul on Messi: “We always miss him, we always want to have him on the field. For me, it’s a pleasure to turn around and give him a pass, being able to give him a chance. He gives us a lot of peace of mind. I hope he comes back for the the next game because with him, everything is better.”

Leo Messi: “Sanabria? They told me in the locker room that someone spat on me. The truth is that I don’t even know who that boy is. I prefer not to talk, otherwise he’s going to go out and talk everywhere and will be known.”

Lionel Messi (6/10):

Didn’t look fit, but still hit both an Olimpico and a free kick off the post because he is who he is. Probably didn’t need to be risked in this game, though.

Tags: Lionel Messi

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