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‘He is the first to suffer’ – Aguero defends Messi amid Argentina criticism

The Manchester City forward leapt to the defence of his international team-mate

Sergio Aguero says that he does not understand criticism directed at Lionel Messi for Argentina, insisting the superstar is the “first to suffer ” and continues to make himself available for the national team despite all the negativity surrounding his international career.

Messi has won everything on offer during his time as a Barcelona player, as the forward has won the Champions LeagueLa Liga, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup, Copa del Rey and Supercopa de Espana while emerging as one of the game’s most decorated stars on the club level.

However, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner is yet to taste senior success in an Argentina jersey following a runners-up finish at the 2014 World Cup, having also reached back-to-back Copa America finals in 2015 and 2016, with Messi missing a crucial penalty in a shootout loss to Chile in the latter finale

Messi excluded himself from international selection after Argentina’s last-16 exit to France at the 2018 World Cup, before returning and helping the country to the Copa America semi-final last year.

The 32-year-old continues to be criticised for his Argentina performances but countryman Aguero defended his team-mate by praising Messi’s commitment to the group.

“I do not understand those who criticise him in the national team,” Aguero told TyC Sports. “He is the first to suffer and continues to come.”

The coronavirus pandemic has brought sport to a standstill, with the Premier League and La Liga among the leagues on hiatus, while the 2020 Copa America has been pushed back to next year.

The Premier League has been suspended since last month and it remains to be seen when, and if, the 2019-20 campaign will resume.

Manchester City star Aguero is contracted until 2021 and the Argentine forward has been linked with a return to boyhood club Independiente.

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