Messi: Why Argentina Star Walks a Lot During Games Amid World Cup Push

Messi: Why Argentina Star Walks a Lot During Games Amid World Cup Push

Martin Moses
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:19 PM
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FIFA World Cup
  • Lionel Messi has been spotted walking during games instead of pressing opposition players
  • One might think he is walking around aimlessly, but the veteran rarely does aimless things
  • Messi's former manager Pep Guardiola once attempted to explain his work rate on the pitch

Lionel Messi's demeanour over the years has won him a lot of fans.

His grace and timid nature on the pitch are a sharp contrast to his screaming and out-of-this-world performances.

Of all his mannerisms, a hawk-eyed fan would realise that Messi walks a lot during games.

Lionel Messi, Argentina, Pep Guardiola, World Cup
Lionel Messi in action during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Argentina and Australia at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on December 3, 2022, in Doha. Photo by Anthony Stanley.
Source: Getty Images

He is not the type of player who'll press a goalkeeper or defender unless his side are losing - which they rarely do.

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The easy explanation will be that a player of Messi's calibre isn't expected to press players. The rest of the team is supposed to work for him, and get the ball to his feet and leave the rest to him.

Messi rarely tracks back to help in defence. It was actually amusing when PSG captain Marquinhos once asked him to lie down to prevent a Manchester City free kick from going in during a Champions League game.

Daily Star reports that only Robert Lewandowski has walked more than Messi during this year's World Cup. During Argentina's round of 16 clash, Messi was seen hovering around the right area where he usually operates, but the few times he got hold of the ball, he was a constant menace.

Why does Messi walk?

Pep Guardiola once attempted to explain why Messi behaves the way he does. Guardiola is largely credited for believing in the veteran during his early days at Barcelona.

"He's not out of the game. He's involved. Moving his head. Right, left, left, right. He smells who is the weak point of the back four. After five, or 10 minutes, he has the map. He knows if I move here, here, I will have more space to attack." Guardiola said as quoted by Sport Bible.

So from Guardiola's analogy, it is a tactic - possibly the same way a lion sizes its prey before attacking it - and it has worked countless times in the 1000 games he has played.

VVD warns Netherlands about Messi

Messi's tactic is one that Netherlands defender Virgil Van Dijk is wary of. He has explained that their focus is not about Messi and besting him, but rather beating Argentina in the quarter-final.

Sports Brief has reported that the Oranje will go head to head with La Albiceleste on Friday night, December 9, in the round of 8 battle at the ongoing World Cup in Qatar.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward has been in superb form so far at the Mundial, and many football fans around the world have tipped him to win the title.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)
Pep Guardiola