Argentina superstar Lionel Messi has admitted that it will be special to play in the 2022 FIFA World Cup without Diego Maradona in the stands, as per TyC Sports.
This will be Messi’s first FIFA World Cup appearance in which the 1986 World Cup winner Diego Maradona will not be present in the stands or in the dugout.
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Lionel Messi spoke to FIFA+ before Argentina’s FIFA World Cup opener against Saudi Arabia. He said that Maradona loved the national team and will always be present with them in some form.
He also said that Maradona made others feel special and that he had the power to arouse the fans. He said that this World Cup would be special without him. He told FIFA+ (via TyC Sports):
“It’s strange not to see him in the stands, not to see people go crazy when he appears, what he conveyed, what he made the rest feel. It’s going to be special that he’s not present.”
“He loved the National Team. He was always there and always will be from somewhere.”
Lionel Messi is playing his fifth and presumably final World Cup. He has been handed the captain’s armband and will be looking to guide Argentina to World Cup glory, just like Maradona did in 1986.
Maradona also coached the Argentina national team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, where they lost to Germany in the quarterfinals.
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The Paris Saint-Germain attacker also spoke about his team and head coach Lionel Scaloni. He said that the group has arrived in good form for the competition and praised Scaloni’s managerial acumen. He said:
“From the beginning he bet on a strong, united group. He is the great culprit that this team is the way it is. Game after game he shows that he is a great coach and it is his credit that the team has not lost for so long ”.
“We arrived at a good moment both as a group and as an individual. We come from many games with good feelings and it is very important to arrive in this way.”
Argentina are currently on a 36-match unbeaten run in international football, one game short of the record held by Italy.
Argentina begin their World Cup challenge today 🥶
He acknowledged that the World Cup is going to be difficult and he will be focusing on the next game every time. He said:
“We know that the World Cup is difficult. You have to go step by step, game by game and think short”.
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