Messi demands Argentina improvement ahead of World Cup

Lawrence Cooper
December 8, 2017

Lionel Messi believes he and his Argentina team-mates will "have to disappear" if they fail to take their "last chance" to win a trophy at the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation.

Argentina's last major championship triumph was in 1993 when they emerged winners of the Copa America.

The 30-year-old retired from global duty after losing the Copa America Centenario final to Chile in 2016, the same side that pipped them to the trophy one year prior.

Argentina were placed in Group D at last week's World Cup draw, alongside Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria.

Messi will lead the Argentina national side at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation next summer with the Albiceleste looking to go one better than they did in 2014 when they lost in the final to Germany.

"Today we are some distance from being champions, but there is time for us to prepare". People want results and if they don't get them, they want to see fresh blood. There is a lot of excitement. We are the first ones to want to win with the national team. "It's going to be very hard for anyone to continue because we have already been here for a number of years".

Messi also spoke about Nigeria's star, John Obi Mikel, who voted for him to win The Best Fifa Men's Player 2017, an award that finally went to Real Madrid and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo. "I've said many times that my dream is to play at Newell's, but I don't know what will happen".

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"We were worthy of winning them because, without having played well, we had the clearest [chances] - both in the World Cup and the Copas America".

"I'd have to watch them again to see what we didn't get right to not win them".

Messi himself has been out of the side in recent weeks after starting Barcelona's last two Champions League matches on the bench.

In wide-ranging interview, Messi also added his voice to calls for Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli to include Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain in his World Cup plans.

"He is suffering for the national team, but he must be in it", Messi stated. "He has to be [in the team] because he is vital, he is one of the best forwards in the world and he always shows it".

The Argentine global footballer will now play for Barca until 2021.

"The critics make him suffer, we have spoken about it many times. But he must be in the squad".

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