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Argentina coach Sampaoli tribute to Barcelona star Messi

27 March 2018

Speaking ahead of Brazil's game against Germany, he said: "I think that Coutinho is a player who is on the same level as Ney, he has a massive influence on our game and in his teams".

Argentina count on players such as Atletico's Angel Correa, while Ever Banega is at Sevilla and Gonzalo Higuain spent several seasons with Real Madrid.

"It was tough because we weren't able to lift it (the World Cup trophy in 2014)".

Meanwhile Argentina coach Sampaoli confirmed that Messi had recovered from the groin injury which saw him miss Argentina's win over Italy on Friday.

The 30-year-old admits that the Juventus star play the same role as he does for his Italian side, and added that the two of them had talked about the matter.

Lopetegui has to decide whether to use Tuesday to give game time to players who didn't figure in Germany and that could see Marcos Alonso given a chance to make his debut at left back, while Lucas Vazquez and Iago Aspas could also give some real pace to the Spain attack.

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli said Messi trained "normally" on Monday and is available to play. Why risk it? It's unnecessary.

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"Leo has to play like he does for his club, to put him into another structure is madness".

Tapia insists he has not been pulled from the match by Barcelona and insists their relationship is strong.

While of the opinion that too much is expected of Messi, Sampaoli concedes that he is working with a special talent.

"I always want to play, but the road to the World Cup is still long". So he had to move to the left and he's not used to playing there.

At Juventus he plays just like me, we look for the same spaces.

"It's hard to assume a level of control when your leader knows he's better than you, he executes things like nobody else".

Argentina coach Sampaoli tribute to Barcelona star Messi