ARGENTINA

Verón reveals how he got Messi to learn national anthem

Verón, who is one of few to have played with Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, talked to ESPN about his memories of playing with the two Argentinian heroes

Verón reveals how he got Messi to learn national anthem

Juan Sebastián Verón is a well-respected person in Argentina and across the footballing world, and the ex-Inter Milan and Manchester United centre midfielder is one of the few who can say they’ve had the privilege of playing with both Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi.

“To play with Diego is like touching the sky with you hands,” Verón told ESPN on Wednesday. When it comes to Messi, Verón – who lined up with the Barcelona star at the World Cup 2010 – recalled the time when he was on the opposite side during the Club World Cup 2009.

“When he scored against us I wanted to kill him, but he was incredible,” Verón recounted about the game when his Estudiantes side lost to Barça in the final.

Anthem 

Verón’s most amusing anecdote, however, was about how he tried to convince Messi to learn the Argentine national anthem.

“I sent him the verses!” Verón joked.

Back then Messi was criticised for not singing the anthem, something that Verón also chose not to do in his career. “I didn’t sing it on purpose. I didn’t change anything and the crap didn’t get to me. To me, like everyone, [pride] comes to you when [the anthem] plays, but everyone does it their own way. The Pumas (Argentina’s rugby side) cry during the anthem, but we don’t.”