Moscow,Nov 8 – Argentine captain Lionel Messi has underlined the importance of next year’s World Cup for his career by promising to complete a 65-kilometer pilgrimage from his hometown Rosario to San Nicolás on foot in case the Albiceleste wins the World Cup in Russia.
‘If we win the World Cup, I promise to walk from Rosario to San Nicolás,’ he said.
And since Argentina no longer has to worry about whether or not they will participate in Russia, Messi is free to admit that the team almost went ‘crazy’ while struggling to get the pass to the final.
The Albiceleste only secured a place in the tournament next year during the final round of the CONEMBOL qualification, beating Ecuador 3-1, while Peru and Colombia drew 1-1.
He was a bit too close for comfort, particularly when Ecuador initially went 1-0 up in that match, before a Messi hat-trick ruined them.
‘I thought we were going to qualify before,’ he said. ‘I thought we would win against Venezuela and Peru. ‘We could not stop qualifying for the World Cup when Ecuador scored the goal, a lot of things happened to me, but we were lucky not to go crazy.’
Jorge Sampaoli’s team will have to improve significantly if they will have an impact similar to the 2014 edition, when they lost to Germany after overtime in the final.
And Messi acknowledged that Argentina probably is not among the top favorites this time.
The superstar of Barcelona highlighted Spain as the team to avoid in the 2018 World Cup, although he admits that his South American compatriots and the current world champions, Germany, will also be tough.
He said: ‘Spain, Brazil, Germany and France are the teams with the best image at the moment, I think they are the favorites.
After playing Russia at the Luzhniki Olympic Stadium,the Argentina tgeam directed by Jorge Sampaoli will travel to Krasnodar city and on the 14 will play Nigeria.(Prensa Latina)