Brazil Boss Tite Talks ‘Alien’ Lionel Messi After Copa America Win vs. ArgentinaJuly 3, 2019
Brazil manager Tite discussed the Selecao’s efforts to limit “alien” Argentina captain Lionel Messi after their 2-0 win over La Albiceleste on Tuesday.
Goals from Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino saw Brazil through to the Copa America final, ensuring Messi’s wait for international success with Argentina will continue.
Per Goal’s Jamie Smith, Tite said after the match:
“Messi is an alien. Messi is exceptional.
“He deserves such consideration, that reverence he deserves. And to neutralise such a player, with your actions on the field, you can’t stop him.
“We had to tinker with the structure of the team, so we brought Firmino a little further back to close the midfield to reduce his actions, and also to explore our speed.
“We scored and then got less possession of the ball than we normally do, but we brought effectiveness and we were decisive.”
The 32-year-old was livelier against the Selecao, and he was creating opportunities for his team-mates at the Estadio Mineirao.
Although Brazil have had their own problems at this year’s Copa, they have a much better squad overall compared to Argentina.
Tite is also a much more experienced coach than his counterpart Lionel Scaloni, who had only worked as an assistant prior to taking charge.
On another night, Messi might have made the difference in Argentina’s favour—particularly if the referee hadn’t failed to award what appeared to be two clear penalties—but getting the best out of him remains an issue for the national side.
At club level, neutralising Messi has proved virtually impossible over the years because Barcelona play to his strengths, and he has excellent chemistry with his team-mates.
With Argentina, he’s often left isolated in an attack lacking fluency. Thanks to his individual talent, he has still managed to rack up 68 goals for the national team over the years, but much needs to change before he can consistently reach the levels he does for Barcelona.