Lionel Messi was a shadow of himself and hardly impacted the match as Argentina beat Venezuela 2-0 to progress to the semifinals of Copa America 2019 – and the maestro blamed the pitch conditions for his performance.
Speaking to reporters after the match, a reflective Lionel Messi explained the issues that he is facing at Copa America 2019 and why he hasn’t performed up to expectations in the tournament so far.
“Truth is I am not doing my best Copa America or what I hoped to do,” he said.
“It is always more complicated for us [the teams] that want to attack, [to] do something different when we have the ball, [to] dribble [past] the opposition.”
Argentina huffed and puffed to get past Venezuela and it took a moment of brilliance from Lautaro Martinez and a ‘keeper error to eventually see them through. Lionel Messi, on the other hand, was subdued throughout the match – something he chalked up to the condition of the pitches at the tournament.
“It’s a Cup where they do not give you anything. It’s very difficult to play because the courts are very bad. It’s a shame you cannot have the ball [and] play two touches. You need a little more time, you can not drive or side the ball,” he explained.
Lionel Messi-led Argentina will go on to face Brazil in the semifinals of the Copa America 2019.