Lionel Messi light years ahead of Diego Maradona, says Sergio Ramos

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli at the touchline in a past match

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli at the touchline in a past match

Ahead of Thursday's critical World Cup match against Croatia on the banks of the Volga River, Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli tried to temper the expectations weighing on his star player.

Argentina, with a population of more than 44 million, is fifth on the Federation Internationale de Football Association world rankings list and has won the World Cup twice, being one of only eight teams in the world to have won the Cup.

Before his team's World Cup campaign started, coach Jorge Sampaoli said the duo were not yet ready to play together, and Dybala was left on the bench as Argentina were held 1-1 by Iceland in their opener on Saturday. He led the Argentina national team in a boycott of the press two years ago. The World Cup is complicated for every team.

He added: "When we succeed with Argentina, everyone takes credit for it but when Argentina loses, it's always Leo's fault".

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On the show, Cuccittini said that it's Messi's dream to win a World Cup, but that the pressure he's under is enormous.

"We discussed looking for the breaks to generate the best physical and mental form for the World Cup, it will be very important and it will be much more genuine for him to handle it than another". We can not dwell on it, lamenting what happened.

"I see Leo well, just like the rest of my teammates, eager to hit back, to do things well in our next game and to work", Mercado said at a news conference in Moscow. Messi is a fantastic player.

After all, Argentina's presence in this World Cup can be credited primarily to the great Messi, with a chaotic qualifying campaign that produced some starling statistics to highlight the influence of their iconic No.10. They would have opened a little more and we could have found more spaces. She gave him some advice to try and help him have fun in what's most likely his final World Cup. We had to play with that in mind.

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"You can't give all the responsibility to Messi, because then what's the point of you being there?" said former Argentine forward Claudio Caniggia.

"Playing like that, he can't come back to Argentina", the 1986 World Cup victor told Venezuelan television.

He dare not fail again.

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