Messi's Argentina escape after PSG abuse
Roberto Ayala believes any drama at club level for Lionel Messi will not transfer to the Argentina national team, ahead of the World Cup.
Lionel Messi might be going through strife with Paris Saint-Germain, but he has received a timely reminder of how highly he is valued by Argentina.
Messi's home escape
Ahead of this year's World Cup, Argentina assistant coach Roberto Ayala said Messi can find sanctuary with the national team and stressed club matters were of little concern.
Following PSG's spectacular collapse against Real Madrid in the Champions League last week, Messi was one of the players to be booed by the club's fans in Sunday's 3-0 Ligue 1 win over Bordeaux.
According to former River Plate and Valencia defender Ayala, Argentina have no worries about their captain and long-time talisman.
"For us it [the PSG knockout] is not an issue because it disconnects here with the national team," Ayala told La Red.
"We see Messi well. He is a boy who is transformed when he comes to the national team. He is very contained by the group and also wants them to see him as part of the group."
The Argentina team running to Messi at the end of the final in their Copa America triumph last year reflected the harmony within the playing group.
The team are safe in the knowledge their World Cup ticket is booked ahead of final qualifiers against Venezuela and Ecuador, for which Messi has been called up.
Irrespective of the quality of football, the harmony and Messi’s role within that is something head coach Lionel Scaloni and his staff will look to harness, heading to Qatar.
"A very nice group has been created,” Ayala said. "They enjoy it. Trainings go as we want. It becomes easy because they make it easy for us, there are no long faces."
Of Messi, he added: "For many, he is an idol but also at our side, and he wants to be treated like one of the others.
"I see him [Messi] as a leader not only on the field but with small gestures off it that you see. That is very valuable to us."
However, the 48-year-old assistant still feels the Albiceleste need to be tested by Europe's best before the tournament in November, and also hinted at the future possibility of joining the UEFA Nations League.
"I think Argentina is going to be summoned to the UEFA Nations League, which was set up so that they play against each other," he said.
"Later on, we will be able to participate and have the friction we need. We aim for the players to arrive in good condition."