Sports / Soccer

Martino: I don't aspire to make Messi better

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-12-30 09:31

BUENOS AIRES - Argentina's national football team coach, Gerardo Martino, said he has no illusions about improving the game of world-famous player Lionel Messi, a local daily reported Monday.

Martino: I don't aspire to make Messi better

Argentina coach Gerardo Martino sits on the bench before their international friendly soccer match against Croatia at Upton Park in London, November 12, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

His mission as national team coach, Martino said, was to "put together a team in which he (Messi) will feel comfortable," the morning edition of Clarin daily reported.

Martino added he was "never afraid" Messi would decide to ditch the team following criticisms of his performance.

Asked by the daily if he had something to contribute to the player, Martino said: "Absolutely nothing, neither to him nor (his club) Barcelona. The only thing I wish for is for him to ... be happy about coming to play with the national team, happy to play on a team that represents him.

"Speaking from a football standpoint, I don't aspire to make the world's best player better, because that would be hard. But I do have to make sure I don't make him worse," said Martino.

Asked about his own less than successful stint as Barcelona coach (from July 2013 to May 2014), Martino admitted he made "huge blunders," but declined to go into detail.

He lamented having achieved nothing while in Barcelona, saying it was like a blank in his coaching career, which "happened to take place in the most important place."

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