Argentina's head coach Lionel Scaloni (L) and Lionel Messi (R) attend their team's training session in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 14 November 2022. EFE-EPA FILE/ALI HAIDER

Argentina coach takes a swipe at Messi doubters ahead of Uruguay tie

Ezeiza, Argentina, Nov 15 (EFE).- Argentina national football team coach Lionel Scaloni said on Wednesday that he did not understand people who doubt Lionel Messi as the best player in the world and assumed that they do it just for the sake of debate.

“It is something I don’t understand, but I think it’s more because of the debate. If everyone would say that he is the best, there would be no debate,” Scaloni said at a press conference in Ezeiza ahead of the team’s World Cup 2026 qualifier against Uruguay.

Scaloni said that there are people who “do not want to understand reality” and “attempt to debate,” when there should not be any debate.

The Inter Miami player has just won his eighth Ballon d’Or – an award given by France Football magazine – and was congratulated by his teammates.

Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez, who won the award for best goalkeeper in the Ballon d’Or ceremony, was also congratulated by his teammates.

“Leo was always the best, and now Emiliano has joined us. He is a boy very dear to us,” said Scaloni.

Regarding the possibility of seeing Messi in the starting eleven against Marcelo Bielsa’s Uruguay, Scaloni said that he had seen the player at 100 percent in training, which indicated he was guaranteed minutes.

Scaloni also appeared unconcerned about Angel Di María, who returned from injury and was planning to retire from the national team after the 2024 Copa America in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

“There is a lot left for the Copa America. Let’s enjoy what we have now. It doesn’t make much sense to think about what could happen,” he said, confirming that de Maria was in full shape to play.

World champions Argentina, who are sitting comfortably at the top of the South American World Cup qualifiers table with wins in all of their four matches, will play against Uruguay on Thursday in Buenos Aires. EFE