Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodrigo de Paul has come out in defence of national team colleague Lionel Messi, after the latter was booed by his own fans last weekend.
It was an event which has provoked a strong reaction throughout the football world and de Paul is not the first to express strong views on the matter, with Luis Suarez reacting to the boos on social media. Ahead of the weekend, Dani Alves told Martin Ainstein that Messi seemed unhappy at Paris Saint-Germain.
Speaking to Argentine outlet TyC Sports ahead of the upcoming international break, de Paul was similarly taken aback by the reaction of the Paris fans.
“He is very used to the responsibility, the pressure. It’s a moment that he has to go through because they were knocked out of the Champions League but that’s what football is. He has to be proud of what he has won. The dynamic of this sport is that sometimes it rewards you and sometimes it punishes you. Playing for Argentina will do him good, it will change his mindset a bit.”
In de Paul’s mind, Leo Messi should be above boos from any fanbase, no matter the scenario.
“I can’t tell you much of what I think… It’s barely understandable, but there it is. I don’t agree with it. People with have done it because they were angry, but without thinking about it. But you can’t ever whistle a guy like Messi, no matter where in the world and no matter what the reason is.”
Moving onto the relationship that de Paul and Messi share on and off the pitch, the Atleti midfielder was enthusiastic.
“The good vibes were immediate. The truth is that it was very natural. When he came back we played in Madrid, against Venezuela and in the first training session we were already chatting a lot.”
That friendship bore fruit on it as well, as the two struck up a strong understanding which helped Argentina to the 2021 Copa America title.
“Having such a good relationship with him meant that we looked for each other on the pitch a lot and we had a good understanding.”
“I think we understand each other without even looking now,” he added.