Argentina Coach Alejandro Sabella believes Lionel Messi has begun 'to win the heart of the Argentines.'
The Barcelona star has often been accused of failing to recreate his stunning club form when wearing the shirt of his national side, with some even suggesting he feels more Spanish than Argentine having joined the Blaugrana at such a young age.
However the forward scored three goals over the course of the Celestes recent World Cup qualification double header with Uruguay and Chile, and Sabella believes he is winning over the sceptics.
“He has begun to win the heart of the Argentines, and he deserves it,” commented the tactician, who is in Barcelona to see Messi receive the Golden Boot award as Europe's top scorer, having netted 50 La Liga goals last term.
“It is a great honour to Coach Argentina, and to somehow be touched by the magic wand that is coaching the best player in the world.”
The former Estudiantes boss preferred not to compare Messi to past greats Pele and Maradona though.
“It would be irresponsible to make comparisons with other eras, they were all extraordinary in their time. Messi is an extraordinary player, probably the best of all time, but for me it would be too pretentious to give him such a definition.”