‘To stop Messi, you have to foul him’

Argentina’s general manager Carlos Bilardo is the latest to praise Lionel Messi and believes there is only one way to stop him on the pitch right now.

Bilardo, who also coached the Albiceleste to the 1986 World Cup before a brief stint in Spain with Sevilla, was full of praise today when discussing the diminutive Barcelona forward.

“You have to see how in training he just takes flight. He goes from 0 to 50,” Bilardo told reporters today.

“You have to foul him in order to slow him down, if not, then there is no stopping him. The ball is a part of his foot, whilst he runs as if he has nothing there.”

Bilardo also suggested that the player’s best position was central, so as to involve him the most in play.

“He always has to be on the ball because if you lose it at the other end of the pitch then that is already five minutes without Messi. He has to be in the middle.

“You can forget how you line up against him because you have to keep up, he can leave you standing after 10 yards. He is a barbarian, Messi is the best in the final 30 metres, he kills you there.

“Once you give the ball to him, he reacts because he goes forward, even if there are two or three opponents in his way.”

The 73-year-old believes that the team are capable of adding a third world title to the AFA’s trophy cabinet, if Messi is on form and matched by his teammates.

“The other day with Aguero and Di Maria it went well. Di Maria has great pace. I can see him as more concrete, stronger.

“If Messi is good and some of the other players also are then the team can achieve something at the World Cup, but first they have to qualify.”

Tags Argentina Bilardo Messi