Alves: Barca better than Argentina
Brazil full-back Daniel Alves believes Lionel Messi struggles to replicate his Barcelona form on the international stage because the Argentina squad is inferior to that at the Nou Camp.
- Related Content
FIFA World Player of the year Messi was the top scorer in Spain last season and the creative force behind the Catalan giants retaining their Primera Division crown.
Yet he has rarely shown such brilliance in an Argentina shirt.
Alves, who plays just behind Messi at Barca, was quick to point the finger at Brazil's South American rivals by suggesting Diego Maradona's players are not able to bring the best out of the 22-year-old.
He told The Times: "I think the reason Messi has difficulties with Argentina is because there is no comparison between Barcelona and Argentina.
"With all respect to the players in Argentina, there is no comparison between the two.
"At Barcelona, he has players of his level."
Messi goes into the tournament widely recognised as the best player in the world. Yet Alves feels there is too much pressure on the Rosario-born star.
"Messi is young," he added.
"He has to carry the nation on his back and it's a big responsibility.
"He is too good a person, he never complains about anything."