DOHA: Argentina star Lionel Messi is football’s answer to skiing great Alberto Tomba, Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz said on Tuesday.
Speaking ahead of Poland’s final World Cup group stage match against Argentina in Doha, Michniewicz said his side would need to surround Messi to stop him.
“Messi on the pitch is like Alberto Tomba on the slope, he’s able to avoid everyone like Tomba can get around everything,“ said Michniewicz.
“So we need to put players around Messi because if he can get around (them) easily he will easily score.
“One player cannot stop Messi, we must get players around him.”
Even so, Michniewicz says that may not be enough.
“The whole world has been thinking for years about how to stop Lionel Messi and he has made dozens of goals and assists,“ he added.
“I don’t think we’ll ever find the final answer to this question.”
Poland have their own star striker in Robert Lewandowski, who is following in the Argentine’s footsteps as the darling of Barcelona, where he has scored 18 goals in 19 games this season.
Many have billed this as the clash between Messi and Lewandowski, but Michniewicz does not buy into that.
“It’s not only a match between Lewandowski and Messi, it’s not tennis,“ said the coach.
“Robert needs his teammates, the same as Leo needs his. We rely on these great strikers but they cannot win on their own.”
Michniewicz admitted that as a fan he has long supported Argentina but said he would have no conflicting emotions during Wednesday’s game.
“Since I was a little boy I’ve always rooted for Argentina. They have great fans, a great team, huge personalities like Mario Kempes in 1978 and other players.
“There have been many ups and downs but I have always rooted for Argentina, although I won’t tomorrow.”-AFP