Don’t Be ‘Impatient’ With Argentine Soccer Star Messi, Adidas Chief Says
“Don’t be impatient with him,” Herbert Hainer, head of the Herzogenaurach, Germany-based company, said in Buenos Aires today, less than a week after Argentina was eliminated from the Copa America regional soccer tournament. “He’s still a young player.”
Adidas, the world’s second-largest sporting-goods maker, sponsors both Messi, 24, and the Argentine national team. This week, the company extended its sponsorship contract with the Argentine Football Association until 2022.
Messi, who left Argentina for Barcelona when he was 13, has failed to win a title with his native country since joining the national team in 2005. During his time at Barcelona, the club has has won 14 titles, including five La Liga Spanish league titles and three UEFA Champions League cups. Messi received the world’s best player award from FIFA, soccer’s governing body, in 2009 and 2010.
“I’m absolutely convinced he’s the best football player,” Adidas’s Hainer said. “Unfortunately he was unable to show all his talent in Argentina.”
Failed to Score
Argentina was knocked out of the Copa America, which it is hosting, last week after a penalty shoot-out against Uruguay. Messi failed to score in Argentina’s four matches, as he did in the World Cup in South Africa last year.
Argentine fans booed and hurled abuse at the team during its second game, on July 6 against Colombia, which ended in a 0- 0 tie.
“Nobody likes to be insulted,” Messi said in a post-match press conference.
Speaking in an interview with Radio 10 two days later, Messi’s father, Jorge, said the insults “were very tough” on his son.
Uruguay will face Paraguay in the Copa America final on July 23.
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