How Lionel Messi is motivating Argentina ahead of the 2022 World Cup final against France

Messi, 35, has announced Sunday’s centerpiece will be his last World Cup game, and potentially his last game for Argentina, as he seeks to retire with the game’s greatest honor.

While Messi claims all domestic honors to his name, it was only last year that he won an international title as Argentina won the Copa America and, before facing the world champions, Martinez says the No.10 motivates his teammates.

“People can say the favorites are France, but we have a good advantage of having the greatest player of all time,” Martinez said. “We know that on the pitch they have a lot of experience. It’s a big advantage and we have many chances to achieve our goal.

Adding on Messi: “I see him very happy, like all Argentines. He feels very good on the pitch. I saw a great Messi at the Copa America.

“He was exceptional and one of the best in the Copa America. He took a step forward physically and footballically from the Copa America. It’s difficult for him to play as well as the Copa America but he does it.

“He is playing very well and it gives so much energy to the whole team because we have the best player. He is full of joy and that helps us a lot.

Martinez was the hero of Argentina’s quarter-final win over the Netherlands, helping his side win on penalties after a 2-2 draw in 120 minutes.


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The Albiceleste found themselves criticized for the aggressiveness they displayed during the game and Martinez was heavily involved in the scenes, including telling opposition coach Louis van Gaal to ‘shut his mouth’ when he spoke to the media after the game.

The 30-year-old former Arsenal player, however, thinks his country has been misunderstood: “Yeah, some people have talked about it. Maybe they don’t know football very well.

“They don’t know how we play in South America. If you lack football experience, you shouldn’t make those comments. That’s fine. We are a power in football and we are recognized as well.

“I know how the fans feel. I was barbecuing in 2014 watching the final. People were crying. I’m a fan too. Argentines are very passionate. We bring that to the pitch to create a connection with our people.”

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