Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi has admitted that he hopes football will “repay the debt” that manager Jorge Sampaoli claimed owes him.
Messi produced a miracle when Argentina needed him most in the nation’s final World Cup qualifying match, and he almost single-handedly managed to secure his country’s ticket to Russia 2018.
And now, reflecting on the qualification, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner hopes to be repaid by the footballing gods:
“I hope football will repay the debt,” he explained in an interview with FIFA.com (via Marca)
Messi and his side made their way to the World Cup final back in 2014 – eventually losing to Germany in extra time, and the 30-year-old admits that even now the memories of that night haunt him:
Heading into the summer, the South American country hopes to be able to emulate the kind of form that made them so successful in 2014. But despite a less than impressive qualifying campaign, Messi reckons something has changed now that they know they’ll be in Russia when the World Cup comes around:
“After the Ecuador game, the team feels different,” he continued. “Argentina has let go of all the fear and tension that came with that match. This changes the atmosphere a lot.”
Argentina find themselves in Group D for the World Cup, along with Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria.