An older and wiser Lionel Messi stressed on enjoying every bit of his last World Cup, ahead of Argentina’s opening group game against Saudi Arabia. “Age makes you see things differently. You give more importance to small details, which I didn’t do before. Today, enjoying is more important than everything else,” Messi said. “This World Cup is very special for me. Probably the last one to try and achieve my dream.”
Accepting there’s always a pressure of expectations when playing for the national side, the Argentina captain added: “Anxiety and nervousness exists for most players in our team… it’s their first World Cup. Tomorrow we’ll have a tough game.”
Urging his younger teammates to live in the moment, Messi said: “It’s very difficult to tell them that they must enjoy their time. When I was young, I didn’t know how to enjoy, I just played and then worried about the next game. But they should enjoy the people, the atmosphere as you never know if you will play another World Cup.”
The Paris Saint-Germain forward, who had not trained with the team on Sunday, allayed any fears of him missing out the game. “I’m hearing what you say about me about training alone and things, but I’m very fine physically and have no issues whatsoever. I heard there were rumours about (me) having to miss part of the training. No, it’s just precautions. Nothing strange or out of the ordinary,” he said.
The most sought-after star of this World Cup is appreciative of all the love he receives from world over and will look to channelise that positive support in a bid to end his country’s long wait for the coveted trophy.
“It’s beautiful that many people who are not Argentine want us to be champions. I am grateful for the love I have received throughout my career,” he said.