Di María: 'Messi's absence was felt, it was a pity what happened'

Argentina's captain, in light of the team's main reference being out due to injury, the Benfica forward hopes that he will be in top form for the Copa América in the summer.

Di María: 'Messi's absence was felt, it was a pity what happened' Embed from Getty Images

Called upon by Lionel Scaloni to step into Messi's shoes, Ángel Di María has articulated that despite Argentina's solid 3-0 win against El Salvador, the team lacked its usual dynamism without its key player and captain.

Reflecting on the palpable void left by the football maestro, Di María underscored the irreplaceable nature of Messi's influence, both on the field and within the team's spirit. "The absence of Leo [Messi] was deeply felt. Having the greatest of all time, to be able to train with him, to play alongside him, it's the pinnacle of a footballer's career. It's truly unfortunate what happened, but we must maintain our composure. It's preferable that this occurred now. We're hopeful he'll be in top condition for the Copa América," Di María conveyed in his discussion with the Dsports channel.

Stepping into the vast shoes left by Messi, Di María took up the captaincy, showing great determination to shoulder the responsibilities that come with it. His tactical positioning on the right flank, coupled with the freedom to roam, facilitated his support for Lautaro Martínez, illustrating his multifaceted role in the team's strategy. His pivotal assist for Romero's opening goal from a corner underscores his significant contribution, elevating his assist tally to 27 for the national team, thus surpassing the iconic Diego Armando Maradona. Yet, Messi's towering figure, with a staggering 54 assists, remains a distant beacon of excellence and aspiration.

Di María's influence in the game went beyond merely filling a positional gap; it was about embodying Messi's creative force, showcasing his own versatility and commitment to the team's success. The encounter with El Salvador, despite ending in a win, served as a stark reminder of how integral Messi is to the Argentine squad, affecting not just the gameplay but also the morale and confidence of the team. As the Copa América looms on the horizon, the collective hope is for Messi's prompt and complete recovery, enabling Argentina to leverage the full extent of their captain's extraordinary abilities. This sentiment, shared by Di María, resonates with the team and fans alike, acknowledging Messi's unparalleled contribution to the sport and his role as a source of inspiration that extends well beyond the football field.

Updated: 07:51, 23 Mar 2024

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