Messi: Barcelona 'Helping' Nigeria As Argentina FA Pleas Ignored
Published: February 13, 2018
Messi: Barcelona 'Helping' Nigeria As Argentina FA Pleas IgnoredThe president of the Argentine Football Association Claudio Tapia wants the main player for the national team Lionel Messi to be in tip-top condition when he arrives in Russia for the 2018 World Cup, and has advised the striker to play less games for Barcelona.

On November 14, 2017, the Argentina captain deliberately skipped a friendly match against Nigeria after playing three days earlier against Russia.

'' I hope all the players arrive in the level they are at the moment. Sergio Aguero is playing outstanding right now and Lionel Messi is always at the top of his game,'' Tapia told TyC Sports.

''That’s vital for the directors and the coaching staff. We have spoken to Messi about taking care of himself and about playing less for Barcelona.''

Despite Tapia's pleas, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has utilized Messi in 36 matches in the current season from a possible 39 in all competitions.

Including the youth teams, Messi has been directly involved in 6 goals (4 goals, 2 assists) Argentina has scored against the Nigerian teams in five appearances.

Argentina will face Italy, Spain, Catalonia and Bolivia in pre-World Cup friendlies before their meeting with Nigeria at Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg on June 26.

Igho Kingsley