The Argentine coach praised Messi’s quality and believes the loss against Venezuela had a few positives to hold on to the next game.

After almost 10 months, a lot of buzz was created on social media as Lionel Messi returned to action with Argentina. The last time the Barcelona frontman was on international duty was during the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia when his side lost 4-3 to eventual champions France in the round of 16.

However, his return to the national team action wasn’t one to remember as La Albiceleste slumped to a 3-1 defeat to Venezuela in a friendly match at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Salomon Rondon and Jhon Murillo struck before the half time to give a double lead for La Vinotinto. In-form Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez pulled one back for Lionel Scaloni’s side but a late Josef Martinez penalty ensured a surprise victory for the Venezuelans.

After the game, however, Scaloni went on to defend Messi’s performance saying, “It’s difficult for Messi to not play well….he played well.”

“All the chances we created were because of the confusion he caused. During the second half, we saw more teamwork from him.”


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Interestingly, Martinez’s consolation goal for Argentina was a result of a buildup move started by none other than Messi himself. His pass on the left flank to Giovani Lo Celso was in turn fed by the Real Betis player to Martinez inside the box who hit the back of the net.

“Losing hurts obviously but this game has been very useful to see how players work with him as a group. How did others do if the players that were expected to take a step forward did so,” Scaloni went on.

The 40-year-old was disappointed with the result yet went on to state as, “We can conclude that there are players who can do beautiful things with him (Messi).”

The one definitely negative thing about Messi in the game was that he picked up a groin injury and therefore wouldn’t be featuring in their next friendly against Morocco in Tangier on coming Tuesday.