Former Argentina star admits Messi “comes first” ahead of the team in bid for World Cup glory

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Former Argentina striker Hernan Crespo has admitted that, for fans, Lionel Messi now comes first ahead of the whole national team in this winter’s bid for World Cup glory in Qatar.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward is most likely playing in his last World Cup, so will be desperate to finally get his hands on a trophy that has eluded him in his career so far.

Messi came closest in 2014 when Argentina were beaten 1-0 by Germany in the final, and it remains to be seen if he can go one better this year after a slightly unconvincing start to the tournament.

Although Argentina beat Mexico 2-0 last night, they suffered a major shock in their first game when Saudi Arabia came from behind to beat them 2-1.

Discussing this year’s World Cup, former Chelsea and Inter Milan striker Crespo, who scored 35 goals in 64 caps for Argentina, admits that seeing Messi win the competition has become more important to the fans of the country than seeing the team win it.

“I played in two tournaments with him: Germany in ’06 and the Copa America in 2007, where we lost in the final,” Crespo told at the launch of their World Cup Free-To-Play Halftime Quiz.

Lionel Messi celebrates as Argentina beat Mexico

“I’ve been lucky enough to share those competitions with him, and what I saw – even at that age – was a great, great player. A different player, in terms of his touch, his agility, and obviously his skills. It was spectacular to see at times. You’d finish your training session and your eyes would be all over the place because you’ve just watched him do so many magical things with the ball.

“I think he deserves everything in football, because he’s the kind of player who just has so much respect for everything in the game; the opponents, the rules, the fans, the club or country he’s representing. I don’t know what’s going to happen in this World Cup, but I think football has a debt with him; he deserves a World Cup.
“Our feelings as Argentinians are simple this year: we want Lionel Messi to win the World Cup, and then we want Argentina to win the World Cup.
“He comes first; it’s more important that Messi wins it. He’s a part of all of us, and has been for around 15 years. He really does deserve it.”
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