Messi seen as ‘positive leader’ by teammates; Lavezzi replaces Higuaín in training
Argentina forward Lionel Messi “is the captain, the referent of the squad, a very positive leader”, defender Ezequiel Garay and midfielder Lucas Biglia said during the first press conference of the Albicleste, after a training session in which Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuaín was replaced by “Pocho” Lavezzi.
"We just have to help him feel comfortable and happy so that on the pitch he can make the difference," said Biglia on Messi.
“He is the number one of the world, but he can handle the expectations,” he added.
The defenders also laughed off criticism of their supposed defensive weakness and vowed there would be no repeat of their 2010 World Cup quarter-final thrashing by Germany.
"Obviously, we have a very offensive team, but we know our rivals are strong, so we will be defending well also and doing the dirty work," said Garay.
The press conference took place after the second Argentina training session, in which “Pipita” Higuaín played for the substitute team, replaced by Lavezzi.
Federico Fernández had to leave the training match after being hit on his left thigh. No further information on his apparent injury was revealed.