Roberto Carlos has expressed his sympathy at Lionel Messi’s struggles to replicate the success he has achieved with Barcelona on the international stage with Argentina.
Widely considered the best player in the world, the 31-year-old has won 10 Liga titles and four Champions Leagues among many other team honours, while he has also collected five Ballons d’Or.
He has, as yet, failed to reach similar heights with the Argentina national team, however, suffering defeat in the World Cup final in 2014, while also coming up short in the final of Copa America on three previous occasions.
There is the opportunity to put that right once again in Brazil, though, as Argentina go into the 2019 Copa America as one of the tournament favourites.
And Carlos was full of praise for Messi and what he has achieved in the game, insisting that it is a shame he has not had more luck on the international stage.
He told Goal: “Messi is a great player. I’m sorry that he doesn’t have the same luck with the national team that he has with Barcelona. He is a player who we, as former players and the current stars, have a great deal of admiration and affection for.”
One player who will not be appearing at Copa America is Neymar, with the Paris Saint-Germain star having suffered an ankle injury in a 2-0 pre-tournament friendly win over Qatar.
The 27-year-old has also been the subject of a rape allegation, with the former Barcelona forward’s lawyer having vowed to prove the Brazil international’s innocence.
And Carlos believes that, while it is a shame to have lost Neymar from the Brazil squad, there had been less talk about football around the national team with everything that was being discussed concerning the player’s private life.
He added: “We have lost Neymar due to injury. At least now the atmosphere of the Brazilian national team has calmed down a bit, there was not so much talk about football, there was more talk about the off-field problem.
“I hope Brazil will win [Copa America] again, it’s difficult to play a Copa America in my country because the press and the fans demand a lot and we have to be very strong psychologically to withstand and put up with the pressure. On the pitch, Brazil has to play to win.”