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Umtiti defends Messi ahead of Saturday's clash

Umtiti defends Barca team-mate Lionel Messi ahead of France vs Argentina

June 29, 2018 By Ali M.
The French defender opened up about the criticism Leo has been receiving ahead of their Saturday showdown.

Lionel Messi has been at the center of the criticism directed at the Argentina national team due to their struggles at the World Cup. The 31-year-old scored a stunning goal en route to their 2-1 win over Nigeria which secured La Albiceleste progression, but many still believe he is not doing enough for his country.

Others have defended the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, the latest being his Barcelona team-mate Samuel Umtiti. The defender, who is gearing up to face Leo in the knockout stage, argues that the Argentina captain cannot do it alone despite his immense talent.

The French center-back even weighed in with his opinion as to why La Pulga struggles to emulate his Camp Nou success when with the national side. Umtiti hinted that Messi's team-mates are a step down in quality but highlighted the difference in playing style as the main cause.

"[Messi] is different, he can't play the same way with Argentina and Barcelona," Umtiti said, as per AS.

"He doesn't have the same players, even though in Argentina they have very good players.

"It's completely different with Barcelona, it's a different playing style.

"I still think he saved them sometimes. When they were very close to losing, he often was there. This is when you must worry about Leo.

"The Argentinians are tough with him. I understand because of all his qualities, but he can't do everything on his own."

This belief has been echoed by many in defense of Messi, but it does not hide the fact that the attacker struggled in his opening two games. A livelier display against the Super Eagles saved their campaign but it has also set up a tricky clash with France in the round of 16.

The European giant, despite winning their group, is also yet to hit top form at the World Cup. However, their talented squad could cause Sampaoli's men lots of trouble when they face off on Saturday.



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