Leeds [UK], Apr 18 (ANI): Atletico Madrid manager, Diego Simeone, praised the Barcelona star Lionel Messi and defended the 31-year old from the critics, by terming them 'unfair'.
"The criticism towards Messi is not fair, not at all, especially in Argentina," Goal.com quoted Simeone as saying.
Messi generally receives an inimical attitude from his home country and gets brutally criticised for not performing as good for Argentina as he does for his club, Barcelona.
Howbeit, Simeone is of the opinion that it is the team that strengthens a great player.
"In Barcelona, there are some players and a team that supports him and in Argentina, there are no such players, as happens to Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal, because Portugal is not Juventus or Real Madrid," he said.
"The teams strengthen the great player, it's easy," he added.
Despite reaching in the FIFA World Cup 2014 final, Argentina was unable to clinch the title as they faced a 1-0 defeat from Germany, who won the quadrennial extravaganza that year.
Messi's failure to claim major honours for his country is the reason why he attracts copious criticism yet Simeone called him extraordinary.
"I respect everything, everyone has an opinion. Messi was close to winning the World Cup, he did not win it, unfortunately. Some people criticise him constantly, but Messi is extraordinary," he said.
This summer, Messi will get a chance to bring a trophy to Argentina by winning the Copa America and regain adulation from his Argentine fans.
But as of now, he will be aiming to earn more glory for Barcelona, who atop the points table in La Liga. Also, Barcelona entered in the Champions League semi-final where they will face Liverpool on May 2. (ANI)