Rio de Janeiro: Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi cannot be expected to resolve all of Argentina’ s problems on the football pitch, Albiceleste coach Edgardo Bauza has said.
Speaking on Tuesday, ahead of Argentina’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Uruguay in Mendoza on Thursday, Bauza suggested the opposition’s fixation with the Barcelona No. 10 would create opportunities for his teammates, Xinhua news agency reported.
“Messi causes problems for the opposition. The team can benefit with him playing in several positions,” Bauza told Argentine newspaper Ole. “But one thing is clear: He will always have two or three opponents around him. We have to try to make the most of that because it leaves other players free.
“I don’t want Messi to fix all of our problems. We have to work to find a solution. It’s a nice challenge.”
The 29-year-old quit international football in June after missing his spot-kick in a penalty shootout loss to Chile in the Copa America final.
The talismanic forward changed his mind after meeting Bauza in Barcelona earlier this month.
Despite reports of a hamstring injury, Messi trained freely on Tuesday and is expected to play against Uruguay.
“He is good. We are going to take care of him,” Bauza said. “But I am confident he will be fine for the Uruguay match. “
Bauza will be taking charge of Argentina for the first time against the Celeste after Gerardo Martino’s resignation in July.
The Albiceleste are currently third in the South American zone qualifying standings for the 2018 World Cup. They will follow their clash with Uruguay with an away duel against Venezuela on September 6.