Lionel Messi says it makes him angry when people claim he makes the big decisions for the national team. Messi, whose hat-trick took Argentina to the World Cup last month, has been accused of selecting coaches and influencing which players do and do not make the squad in the past.
The Barcelona forward, however, criticised the “ridiculous” comments which have been made about him.
“It makes me angry that people say so many things so easily,” Messi told ESPN about his thoughts on the suggestion he runs the Argentina team.
“People say a lot of things without knowing. So, on one hand, it makes me angry. But, on the other hand, I am used to everything that they say.
“I am used to all the ridiculous things they say not just about me, but about this group (of players) from the last few years, so I can live with it.”
“It’s a lie that I put my friends and the coaches I want in the national team, I’m just one more player in the team,” the Barcelona forward said.
“To tell these great players – (Angel) Di Maria, (Sergio) Aguero, (Gonzalo) Higuain and (Javier) Mascherano, who are worldwide figures – that ‘You play because you’re Messi’s friend’ shows a lack of respect towards them and also towards me.
“It’s a lie. I never choose players for the team or take them out. That’s not who I am. I am here to add to the squad, nothing else.”
Criticism of Argentina was present throughout their World Cup qualifying campaign as they left it late before booking their ticket to Russia next summer, courtesy of Messi’s treble in the final group game against Ecuador.