ARGENTINA

Riquelme calls Argentina to “look after Messi, he's a one-off”

Juan Román Riquelme is confident that Argentina won't let the Copa América slip from their grasp this time and called for more support for Leo Messi.

Riquelme calls Argentina to “look after Messi, he's a one-off”

Juan Román Riquelme is always open to talking about football. And while he prefers to skirt away from potentially problematic issues, he's always defended the players. Riquelme is an authoritative voice on football in Argentina.

This week the former Boca Junior midfielder spoke to Fox Sport and made a plea for more public support for Leo Messi ahead of next month's Copa América Centenario. "There's no one like Messi - not here, or anywhere else. I am Argentinean and I was lucky enough to play alongside him. The public should enjoy him", Riquelme said. While Messi's honours list at international pales in comparison to what he has achieved at club level, Riquelme is optimistic that fortunes could be about to change for the Blaugrana at the 2016 Copa América Centenario because he is going into the tournament in better form that he did in previous editions. "I've got a lot of hope about this Copa América. Argentina will be closer. They have good players and Messi is in form. If Messi doesn't get injured, I think we'll win it", Riquelme explained.

Román have his insight into why Argentina and Messi have yet to lift a trophy; and without naming names, he feels that at international level, Leo hasn't been able to carve out the same thriving partnerships he enjoys with Barça. "Why haven't we won anything? Because Messi is left to play on his own. We need to look after him. There's no one like Messi".

Román also mentioned the situation concerning Dani Osvaldo, who had his contract rescinded by Boca Juniors after being caught smoking in the changing rooms after the Copa Libertadores meeting with Nacional. He defended the centre-forward contrary to what has been written in the press: "I'm not going to judge Osvaldo. I'm only going to talk about football. What worries me more than anything is that journalists are writing about what goes on inside the dressing room. Let's hope that changes. The best thing that could happen to Boca is that you (the media) don't know anything. It angers me a lot", he said.