‘The best player was Lionel Messi, there’s NO ONE like him’: Argentine superstar is hailed by Rio Ferdinand and Alan Shearer for his ability to ‘drag his side through matches’ after they reached World Cup last 16 with 2-0 win over Poland
- Rio Ferdinand and Alan Shearer have hailed Lionel Messi’s Poland performance
- The Argentina star ‘dragged’ his team to victory against the European side
- Argentina claimed a 2-0 win over Poland on Wednesday to top Group C
- Shearer believes Messi’s Argentina teammates still rely on the 35-year-old
- While Ferdinand named Messi the ‘best player’ on the pitch against Poland
- The superstar striker didn’t score and was denied from the penalty spot
Lionel Messi has earned rave reviews from pundits after dragging Argentina to top spot qualification in their World Cup group as he played a starring role in his side’s 2-0 of Poland on Wednesday evening.
Messi, Argentina’s record goalscorer with 93 strikes to his name, didn’t find his way onto the scoresheet in their final group stage win, but still caught the limelight despite missing a controversial first-half penalty.
The 35-year-old whom many consider is the greatest footballer of all time, marvelled with trademark runs and pinpoint passes against their lifeless Polish opposition who looked levels below the South American side.
Lionel Messi has helped drag Argentina to knockout stage qualification at the World Cup
Messi didn’t score in Wednesday’s game against Poland but was adored after full-time
Argentina secured safe passage to the knockout stages of the World Cup as group c leaders, lining up a favourable tie against former Olympic game opponents Australia on Sunday.
Tournament hype based around Messi has been rife as the nicknamed ‘magician’ appears at what is expected to be his fifth and final World Cup, attempting to replicate the title-winning success of fellow Argentinian hero Diego Maradona.
The Argentinian (right) is still the nation’s star player according to Alan Shearer
Pundits Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand enhanced conversations around the superstar as they applauded his contribution to Argentina’s second win of the tournament.
England and Premier League legend Shearer highlighted Messi’s ‘isn’t as quick’ as he once was during his prime years at Barcelona, but admitted that this hasn’t stopped his patriotic teammates from relying on the star in crunch moments.
‘He didn’t produce the goal we wanted but some of his passes, we have seen his ability running with the ball, he isn’t as quick as he was but everyone looks to him to drag them through matches,’ Shearer told BBC One.
Messi missed a 39th minute penalty with the scores level at 0-0 as Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny got a strong hand to the playmaker’s effort, denying him a sixth consecutive national team goal.
An emphatic Rio Ferdinand admitted the Argentina legend ‘wasn’t at his best’ against their European opponents but despite not scoring lauded Messi for being the star of the show.
Rio Ferdinand (R) insisted there is ‘no one like Messi’ after Wednesday’s match, while Alan Shearer (L) credited him for his star quality
Messi is making his fifth and most likely final World Cup appearance in the Middle East
The superstar has scored two goals in the tournament so far against Mexico and Saudi Arabia
‘He wasn’t at his best today but best three/four dribbles were Messi, the best player was Messi. No one like him.
‘You spend time watching him and he looks so disinterested sometimes and then bang he lights the game up.
‘He has played a few games, the amount of games at that level, he is a game-changer,