Messi chides `ridiculous` reports of influencing Argentina selection

Lionel Messi

After struggling in World Cup qualifying, Argentina now look like a team slowly building momentum after Leo Messi's heroics in Ecuador.

"I hope we never end up without Messi", the defender after Saturday's game.

Messi helped Jorge Sampaoli's men to a 1-0 friendly win over Russian Federation on Saturday, but he will skip its next clash - a meeting with Nigeria. "We played in a bold, direct manner".

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has confirmed that he will play no part in Tuesday's friendly in Krasnodar, Russia between Argentina and the Super Eagles of Nigeria, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.

The Argentinian mission next summer is to go one better than in 2014, where they were defeated by Germany in the Rio final, and head coach Sampaoli believes his men are on the right track.

"The team dominated Rusia at home and we have to continue moving forward collectively ahead of what's coming".

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"We knew that it would be a tough match and that we wouldn't have possession in some moments", Russian Federation coach, Stanislav Cherchesov, said.

Manchester City's record scorer Aguero moved ahead of Diego Maradona in the all-time list of Argentina goalscorers, taking his tally to 35, the same amount as Hernan Crespo.

"I think the opponent was stronger than us and there are some more hard matches waiting for us".

Argentina's victor came with just four minutes to play and the victory marks another important milestone for Jorge Sampaoli.

Cherchesov added: "I think our defence played correctly from a tactical point of view but we were unable to start quality attacks, especially in the first half, when we had the ball". "We must learn how to endure and win when we're placed in such situations".

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