Argentine midfielder Javier Mascherano admits he cannot be Lionel Messi because of the criticism and immense pressure his national teammate and captain faces.
The four-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi is universally loved at Spanish football club Barcelona but has been the subject of harsh criticism in Argentina for failing to be as decisive for his national team.
“I could not stand being Messi. You have to be special to be in his place. It is always easy to talk about others before talking about yourself,” Mascherano was quoted as saying by goal.com.
“What you have to take into account is that Leo keeps coming to the Argentina team, he does not hide,” Mascherano said.
Barcelona and Argentina teammate Mascherano, however, admitted that he does not envy the 28-year-old striker.
“And he still does even when his wife is about to give birth,” he said.
Argentina reached the final of their last two major competitions, the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Copa America but lost out each time and Mascherano believes they have to get over it if they are to win a trophy.
“There is no point in crying about the losses but there is in asking what the reasons are, so that it does not happen again,” the 31-year-old said.
“We know the obligation we have because we have not achieved anything for so long and that makes the defeats even harder to take,” he added.
“But we have to live with it and try to make sure that it does not become a habit to lose in finals,” Mascherano said.