Nigeria, Iceland and Croatia should be wary because Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli said he expects his star player and captain Lionel Messi to be on killer form for the World Cup as he would have been fully rested, which was not the case at Brazil 2014.
“We talked about his current situation, and about the fact that he cannot arrive as exhausted at the World Cup as he was four years ago,” Sampaoli said at a press conference.
“The plan is for him to make the most of the rest periods so as to be physically and mentally fit and in top shape for the World Cup.”
It would be recalled that Messi was excused to return to his club by the coach from a November friendly against Nigeria, which the Eagles won 4-2.
But even in Brazil, a ‘tired’ Messi scored four goals including a brace against Nigeria as Argentina went all the way to the final against Germany.