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Messi: Everybody wants to beat world champions Argentina

Argentina captain Lionel Messi says everyone wants to beat them after winning the World Cup last year.

Argentina defeated Ecuador on Thursday night thanks to Lionel Messi’s 78th-minute free kick in the 2026 World Cup qualifying round.

After the match, Lionel Messi warned his teammates that they should not relax and fight every game.

“It was shown in the two friendlies and today, by the points, that this group is not going to relax beyond what it achieved. It was historic, extraordinary,” he said.

“We know that if we go down a little they will pass us over. There are going to be tough matches like this. Defeats, surely. We have to be as we are now, with our feet on the ground. Fight every game as we have been fighting since Scaloni started with All this”.

Messi added: “We already knew it was going to be like this, especially because of the way the Qualifiers are. We knew that it is very difficult to win, that they are all very close matches.”

“Ecuador is a great team. They have been showing since the last Qualifiers that they have very good players, that they are physically strong, that they are clear about what they do, although they changed coaches and now they are trying something else. What they do, they do very Well, we know what we had to do to get it going.”

The 36-year-old Messi who recently joined MLS side Inter Miami, also claimed everybody wants to beat Argentina after winning the World Cup.

“Everybody wants to beat Argentina. Now that we are world champions, even more. That’s why we can’t go down. We even have to go up a little more than we were doing. The demand in each game is maximum and, surely more and more.”

Argentina will face Bolivia on Tuesday in their next CONMEBOL World Cup qualifier.

Argentina Head coach Lionel Scaloni also said that his team has been improving in the last five years.

“When I started, I didn’t know that I was going to be there for five years, exactly. It seems like it was recently, there were difficult moments and, if you remember that, you realize that time has passed. You go improving with experience and matches.”

“I’m proud of the match that the boys played, it was incredible. It was played to the limit as a Qualifying match has to be played.”

Sam Barton
Sam Barton
Sam Barton fell in love with football during the 98 World Cup and has been fascinated by it ever since. The tactical side of the game is what truly inspires him to think, read and write about football, making him the ideal football writer.
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