Lionel Messi has been one of the highlights of the World Cup so far, but the modest Argentina forward thinks his teammates deserve much of the credit for the team’s opening win.
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"This team doesn’t just depend on me," Messi said Sunday, a day after his dazzling display helped Argentina overcome Nigeria 1-0. "There are many players who can determine a match. I depend on the midfield to bring me the ball, and they were able to do that yesterday – and so I was able to capitalize."
Messi tormented the Nigerians, but Argentina failed to extend their early lead. Messi was repeatedly thwarted by Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.
"Things went well for me," said the soft-spoken 22-year-old, the reigning FIFA world player of the year.
Next up for Argentina on Thursday will be South Korea, who also kicked off the tournament with a victory, beating Greece 2-0 on Saturday.
Messi described the South Koreans as "strong and fast," but believes the Argentines only need to worry about their own form.
"It’s about what we do," he said, "We are our own rivals."
Messi, who received a bear hug on the pitch from coach Diego Maradona after Sunday’s match, said the players are thrilled to be playing for the Argentine legend.
"He’s one of us and means a lot to the group," Messi said. "He’s always close and he too was a player so he knows what we’re going through. He gives us a lot of confidence."