By Adeboye Amosu: Argentina Football Association President, Claudio Tapia, says he has appealed to the country’s top football star Lionel Messi to avoid playing minor matches for Spanish club Barcelona in order to reach his full potential at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
The Albiceleste are drawn in Russia 2018 Group D along with Nigeria, Croatia and Iceland.
Messi who is the undisputable leader of the Argentine team will look to help the South Americans win their third FIFA World Cup title in Russia after coming second four years ago in Brazil following a 1-0 defeat to Germany.
To achieve the objective, Tapia believes it is important for the national team captain to be in good physical condition at the mundial.
“I hope all the players maintain their form going into the World Cup. Sergio Agüero is in great form at the moment and Lionel Messi is always up there,” Tapia told TyC Sports.
“For Messi, we had a good discussion with the hierarchy at Barcelona and the coaching staff. We told them to care of him and ensure he plays fewer games in the final months ahead of the World Cup.”
Tapia also confirmed that Argentina will play a friendly match against Catalonia on June 4 at the Nou Camp ahead of the global soccer fiesta.
“We discussed the idea of a friendly game against Catalonia with Jorge Sampaoli (Argentina head coach) and he agreed,” he stated.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will run from June 14 to July 15 in Russia.