Friday, July 12, 2024

´He knows he has a whole country behind him´ – Scaloni empathises as Messi spends birthday on road

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 25 Jun 2024

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Lionel Scaloni empathised with Lionel Messi after the Argentina captain spent another birthday “away from home”.

Messi, who turned 37 on Monday, and his team-mates are preparing to resume their Copa America title defence against Chile on Tuesday.

The reigning champions, who began their campaign with a 2-0 victory over Canada, celebrated their skipper’s big day by presenting him with a cake.

Messi wrote on Instagram: “Thank you so much for all the greetings and congratulations! Another year that coincides with my birthday being with the National Team, so celebrating a little bit more and we keep getting ready for our next game.”

And Scaloni understands it must be difficult for the Inter Miami forward not to have the opportunity to celebrate with his family.

“I know how hard it is for him to be away from home on his birthday,” the head coach told reporters during his pre-match press conference.

“We try to make sure he has the best time possible with his team-mates. We are used to it. He knows he has a whole country behind him.

“The important thing is that Messi is here. He trained normally and is fit to play [against Chile].”

Messi was part of the Argentina side that lost to Chile in successive Copa America finals on penalties in 2015 and 2016.

The eight-time Ballon d’Or briefly retired from international duty following the latter, in which he missed his spot-kick, but overturned his decision before eventually leading his nation to Copa America and World Cup glory in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

And Scaloni insisted Argentina are not out to avenge those defeats when they lock horns with La Roja at the MetLife Stadium.

“There is nothing left of [those finals]. Just as it is with last year’s World Cup, it’s history. There’s no point in going back.

“We have played many matches with these types of characteristics. We will face the match as it happens.”

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