Lionel Messi will remain the best player in the world for as long as he wants to be, according to Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni.
Barcelona superstar Messi won The Best FIFA Men’s Player award on Monday, pipping Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo to the honour.
Scaloni has no doubt the 32-year-old was a deserving winner and thinks he will continue being the sport’s leading light for many years.
“It’s normal Messi won The Best, because he is the best,” said Scaloni.
“He will remain the best as long he wants, has the capacity and is physically able.
“He is magical and he is a player who, while we can enjoy him, it would be great if everyone valued him, because there will be no one else like him.”
— Selección Argentina (@Argentina) September 23, 2019
Messi missed Argentina’s friendlies against Chile and Mexico and will sit out fixtures with Germany and Ecuador in October due to a three-month ban after he claimed the Copa America was “corrupt” following his red card in a third-place play-off win against La Roja.
“He is suspended but he is part of the squad,” said Scaloni. “Leo is delighted with his team-mates. We hope he brings joy to the people, which is the most important thing.”
Despite Argentina’s wait for a first senior international title since 1993 extending at this year’s Copa America, Scaloni retained his position for 2022 World Cup qualifying.
Messi thinks it was the right decision and backed the 41-year-old to be a success.
“He’s a coach who has things clear in his head, who knows how to watch football and is very good at getting things across,” Messi told FIFA.
“He’s easy to understand, he’s good at his job and he knows how to handle the players. I think they got it right in giving him the job permanently and the space and time he needs to work with the national team.”
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