Messi Confirms He Will Miss Argentina Vs Nigeria Friendly

Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi poses with the official match ball for the 2018 World Cup football tournament named

Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi poses with the official match ball for the 2018 World Cup football tournament named"Telstar 18, during its unveiling ceremony in Moscow

The national side have become particularly reliant on Messi since his U-turn on retirement from global football, and needed his goals against Ecuador to ensure qualification for next year's tournament.

Argentina have always been struggling for the ideal "number 9" to compliment the great Lionel Messi, and along with Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero has often been criticised for his performances for La Albiceleste.

"I hope we never end up without Messi", the defender after Saturday's game.

Meanwhile, Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli was pleased with his side's dominance over Russian Federation in the friendly game. "We played in a bold, direct manner".

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Argentina's Lionel Messi explained his desire to get to the 2018 World Cup in the best possible condition was why he was being rested by the national team.

"We expected the match to be hard and that we would not possess the ball or the initiative", Russia's head coach Stanislav Cherchesov said.

He said, "The team dominated Rusia at home and we have to continue moving forward collectively ahead of what's coming".

"There was more vertical play with "Papu" Gomez next to [Angel] Di Maria, interesting movements between Aguero and Messi, many movements on the wings".

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Manchester City striker Aguero moved ahead of Diego Maradona in the all-time list of Argentina goalscorers, taking his tally to 35, the same amount as Hernan Crespo. "We made some mistakes in the first half but in the second we improved".

Lionel Messi, who played in the Argentina side when they lost the last 2014 World Cup Final to Germany rated Brazil, Germany, France and Spain among his favourites to win the title.

At his postmatch news conference he said: "We knew it would be a hard match, that we would not own the ball or have the initiative". We created resistance to the pressure our opponent put us under. "We must learn how to endure and win when we're placed in such situations".

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