World Cup 2018: Argentina federation boss asked Messi to play less at Barcelona
AFA president Claudio Tapia wants his star healthy in June, creating an interesting dilemma
When it comes to the 2018 World Cup, Argentina is likely to go as Lionel Messi goes. If he is at the top of his game, there is no reason why Argentina can't get back to the final and win it. If he isn't performing well, the team has absolutely no chance.
For that reason, the president of the Argentine soccer federation (AFA) wants to make sure Messi is in top form by the time the tournament starts -- no matter what it takes.
Speaking to TyC Sports in Argentina, Claudio Tapia said he wants Messi to not play so much with his club.
"We talked to Messi about taking care of himself and for him to play less at Barcelona," Tapia said.
Wishful thinking, Claudio. Barcelona is first in La Liga, in the final of the Copa del Rey and is once again a contender to win the Champions League. With the treble still up for grabs, Messi playing less makes no sense for Barcelona. The only time it would even be a possibility would be late in the season if Barca has La Liga wrapped up, but chances are Barcelona won't want to risk anything by not playing him.
The risk of getting hurt before the World Cup is one all players take and we enter murky territory any time federations attempt to intervene with the way clubs use their players. Tapia is just going to have to hope the injury bug stays far away from Messi. But you never know unless you ask, right?
The Reds won again at home
Messi and company host a local rival on Matchday 5
The Gunners go for their fourth league win in a row
The Blues are looking to remain perfect in the league
United hopes to make it three wins in a row
City hits the road against one of the promoted clubs