Considered by many as the greatest player to have ever graced the game, Messi had the chance to achieve what his compatriot Diego Maradona did in 1986 by guiding La Albiceleste to World Cup glory – only for Alejandro Sabella’s men to suffer a cruel extra-time defeat.
Asked if Messi should be considered the scapegoat for Argentina’s failure, Mourinho said: “Not at all. I think in the first half he had fantastic options.
“When Sabella brought Aguero on for Lavezzi, Argentina changed from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 and they lost a lot of balance. Messi had to run much more after Lavezzi went off.”
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In fact, rather than being blamed for the South American nation’s failure, Mourinho believes that Messi should be praised for guiding Argentina to the final and for taking them to within touching distance of being crowned world champions.
“It's easy to respect him when he has won but when he has lost, it's not so easy,” added the Chelsea boss.
“'He is still a historical player. He does not need to be world champion to be a historical player, especially in this last decade.”
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