Angel Di Maria has praised Lionel Messi saying that playing with him is the ‘best thing’ that has happened in his career – but that the responsibility does not always need to be handed to the Paris Saint Germain star.
Messi, likely competing in his fifth and final World Cup, carries the hopes of a nation on his shoulders as him and his Argentine team-mates embark on a journey to win their first crown since the Diego Maradona-led triumph in 1986.
Speaking to La Nacion just days out from the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Di Maria said Messi was ‘like an alien’ but that others also had to step up to the plate.
“For me, being by Leo’s side is everything. He’s the best in the world, an alien, and I won’t get tired of saying it,’ he said. ‘And I’ll say it again: playing with Leo is the best thing that happened to me in my career.
‘We have spent many years together in the national team and I was even able to play in the same team with him, because seeing him every day is much nicer.
‘I always try to connect with him, look for him, but also understanding that, although he can solve the play, you don’t always have to give it to him. Or you have to think about when it should be given.”
Di Maria will be competing in his fourth – and like Messi, likely his last – World Cup having been part of every Argentina squad since 2010.
The Juventus wide-player has performed admirably at the last two editions, playing a key role in the country’s run to the final in 2014 and briefly dragging them from the mire against France with a wonder-strike in Russia four years ago.