Aguero defends Messi amid Argentina criticism

Argentina captain Lionel Messi has won everything with Barcelona at club level but he is yet to taste senior success with the national team.

Lionel Messi continues to be criticised for his Argentina performances.   -  Getty Images

Sergio Aguero does not understand criticism directed at Lionel Messi for Argentina, insisting the superstar is the "first to suffer " and continues to make himself available for the national team.

Messi has won everything on offer during his time as a Barcelona player – the Champions League, La Liga, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup, Copa del Rey and Supercopa de Espana.

However, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner is yet to taste senior success in an Argentina jersey following a runner-up finish at the 2014 World Cup, having also reached back-to-back Copa America finals in 2015 and 2016.

READ | Mascherano explains why Messi is on a different level

Messi excluded himself from international selection after Argentina's last-16 exit at the 2018 World Cup, before returning and helping the country to the Copa America semifinal last year.

The 32-year-old continues to be criticised for his Argentina performances but countryman Aguero defended his team-mate.

"I do not understand those who criticise him in the national team. He is the first to suffer and continues to come," Aguero told TyC Sports.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought sport to a standstill, with the Premier League and LaLiga among the leagues on hiatus, while the 2020 Copa America has been pushed back to next year.

The Premier League has been suspended since last month and it remains to be seen when, and if, the 2019-20 campaign will resume.

Future undecided

Manchester City star Aguero is contracted until 2021 and the Argentine forward has been linked with a return to boyhood club Independiente.

But Aguero does not know what the future holds, adding: "For now, I'm not thinking about what to do. With all this, the clubs are having problems.

READ | Messi is Argentina's 'leader and protector', says Tagliafico

"Up until next year it can be extended for two months or more. There are players who end contracts this year and if it is played in July, August or September, the clubs are going to have problems.

"I don't know if they can renew with players for three months or six. The first thing is to end this season and hit everything next."

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos