BY BOLAJI OKUNOLA.
Argentina’s captain, Lionel Messi, has joined the President of Argentina Football Association, Claudio Tapai in drumming support for the recall of Juventus’ hit-man, Gonzalo Higuain to the Argentina national team ahead of the 2018 World Cup in which the team will face Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria in Group D.
The outcome of the last match played by Argentina last month has sent signals to concerned Argentines that the national team needed more than just having Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi as the main stars of the team.
Among those to have been disappointed is the legendary Diego Maradona, who wants Coach Jorge Sampaoli sacked for him.
The Argentines, the two-time World Cup champions, playing without Messi and also with Aguero playing just the first half, crumbled miserably 2-4 to a turbo-charged Super Eagles of Nigeria. An encore of the duel is expected when both meet again on June 26 in the World Cup.
The recall of Higuain lies solely on Sampaoli, the coach. Higuain, a former Real Madrid star who now features for Juventus has been sidelined from the Argentina squad in the past seven matches. He was in action when Nigeria clashed with Argentina during the 2010 and 2014 World Cup editions.
Messi told Argentine publication, TyC Sports that Sampaoli should reconsider his position on Higuain.
“For me he is one of the best number nines in the world. He demonstrates this every weekend at Juventus but does not play the same with Argentina
“I believe that this period without the national team did him good. We spoke about it through messages; it was a good thing that he had this period of absence. But he must be in the squad.”
Higuaín has tallied 31 goals in 69 appearances for the Argentinean national team, and has faced the Super Eagles three times, scoring one goal and providing an assist.