Daniel Alves: Messi lacks support with Argentina
Daniel Alves believes Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi doesn't play as well for Argentina as he does with the Spanish club because of the difference in quality of players.
The Brazil right back said Thursday that the Argentine star struggles with his national team because he doesn't receive the same support that he gets at his club.
"I think that the reason Messi has difficulties with Argentina is because there is no comparison between Barcelona and Argentina," Daniel Alves said. "With all respect to the players in Argentina, there is no comparison between the two. At Barcelona, he has players of his level. There is no comparison between the players in Argentina and the players in Barcelona."
Messi arrives at the World Cup as one of the tournament's biggest stars after winning FIFA's player of the year award last year, but his performances with Argentina have drawn a lot of criticism because he usually fails to play at his Barcelona level.
Daniel Alves said Messi's starring role with the Argentina team doesn't allow him to share the responsibility like he does at Barcelona.
"Messi is young," Daniel Alves said. "He has to carry the nation on his back and it's a big responsibility."
Daniel Alves said Messi has never personally said anything about his Argentine teammates or shown any discontent about his play with the national team.
"He is too good of a person," Daniel Alves said. "He never complains of anything."
Besides Messi and Daniel Alves, Barcelona has other 11 players at the World Cup, the most of any teams along with Chelsea.
Daniel Alves also said he will be supporting Mexico in the World Cup opener on Friday.
"I have friends in the Mexican team, so I hope they come out victorious," he said. "I hope it's a great opening match."
Mexico defender Rafael Marquez also plays for Barcelona with Daniel Alves.
Daniel Alves will be a reserve to Inter Milan right back Maicon when Brazil begins its quest for a sixth world title in South Africa. Brazil will debut against North Korea on Tuesday, then will face the Ivory Coast on June 20 and close play in Group G against Portugal on June 25.
Daniel Alves said he doesn't feel frustrated by his secondary role with Brazil despite being considered one of the best in the world in his position.
"I don't feel like a reserve," he said. "It's a dream to be at a World Cup for the first time and I'm happy to be here. It's not important whether I'm a starter or not. Being in this group makes me happy."
Daniel Alves also has a chance to play as a midfielder, replacing either Elano or Felipe Melo alongside Kaka. Coach Dunga has tried the alternative setup several times, including at last year's Confederations Cup when Daniel Alves scored a late free-kick winner in the semifinal against South Africa.
"I'm not in position to choose," Daniel Alves said. "I play at right back at Barcelona but here I'm available to play in any position, even as a goalkeeper if needed. I'll try to do my best. I have to adapt to what the coach wants me to do."