A report by Argentinian news outlet Clarín claims to give an insight into the amount of power wielded by Lionel Messi in the Argentina national team.
The report details two incidents involving the Barcelona playmaker, one before a friendly with Spain in March and another while the team were in Russia at this year's World Cup.
The first incident took place in Manchester at a training camp before the Spain match, where Messi was unhappy with assistant coach Sebastian Beccacece after he corrected the Argentina captain during a session. Clarin claims that Messi was angered by Beccacece touching his shoulder and reportedly asked Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli that something like that never happen again.
The second incident which Clarín cite is that Messi advised Sampaoli not to play Roma defender Federico Fazio and PSG midfielder Giovani Lo Celso due to the supposed weaknesses in their respective games.
Fazio only minutes for Argentina came in the the second half in the last 16 defeat to France, while Lo Celso didn’t make a single appearance at the World Cup.
The article then sensationally claims that Messi's dislike of Lo Celso stems from a game of football tennis, which the Barcelona man lost heavily, although sources close to the player have denied this to be the case.
Meanwhile Diego Maradona believes that Argentina's leaders led Lionel Messi down in Russia, citing Croatia's international setup as an example of how to succeed in international football:
They wanted Messi to solve everything. Leo got involved in the game, passed the ball to Biglia or Enzo Perez but got a wheelbarrow of cobblestones in return.
The story is written by the quality of the leaders. Argentina are adrift.
I met Davor Suker, who was my teammate at Sevilla, and he is in the Croatian Federation. He has an incredible relationship with the players who are prepared to leave everything on the pitch... and they are in the final.