Argentina may not be fancied as 2018 World Cup top picks, but rather former La Albiceleste midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme feels they can contend with Lionel Messi in the rank.
Subsequent of battling through qualifying, Jorge Sampaoli’s men are not considered among the solid top picks for Russia 2018.
However, Riquelme – who capped 51 times for the national team – believes La Albiceleste could contend with the big guns if Messi performs, having been drawn in Group D alongside Nigeria, Croatia & Iceland.
Messi missed out a great opportunity for winning a 6th Ballon d’Or this year, with Cristiano Ronaldo winning 2017 Ballon d’Or award to make it 5 apiece.
Riquelme believes Messi is the world’s best player, but he paid tribute to both the Barcelona star and Real Madrid forward.
“We hope that we do well, that the players get well and above all Messi,” the Argentinian told El Trece.
“If the latter happens, Argentina will have many chances to win. If Messi is good, nothing is complicated.
“I don’t know Sampaoli. It is important that Argentina can win the World Cup. We want to celebrate and when there are players as important as Messi, you depend on them a lot.”