Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli said his tactics are to blame for Lionel Messi’s poor form at the 2018 World Cup.
The Barcelona star has had more shots than any other player so far at this World Cup (12), but has failed to score with any of them and his team are on the brink of elimination following Thursday’s 3-0 defeat to Croatia in Group D.
Messi’s struggles are in stark contrast to his long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored four goals in his first two matches for Portugal – but Sampaoli feels Argentina’s struggles have limited the impact of his star player.
He said: “I think Cristiano is a great player – you can look at all he has achieved as a player with his club and his country.
“Right now we shouldn’t compare these two players. I think because of the reality of the Argentinian squad, it clouds Leo’s brilliance.
“Leo is limited because the team doesn’t gel ideally with him as it should.
“As coaches, we need to realise these things and try to deal with them and I’m the one that needs to accept it.”