The Argentina coach is wary of the threat posed by the Bayern Munich winger, who he says is as key for Oranje is as the 27-year-old is for the South American side
The two stars will come head to head in Sao Paulo in the World Cup semi-finals on Wednesday night as their respective nations battle it out to meet Germany in Sunday’s final.
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“He is a very dangerous player when one against one, so we have to pay special attention to him. When he gets a bit of speed up, it is more difficult to take away the ball from him,” Sabella told a press conference on Tuesday.
“I think he is a great player, very important for Netherlands, like Neymar is to Brazil or Messi for Argentina. But Messi is the best of them all.”
Wednesday’s fixture will represent Argentina’s first World Cup semi-final appearance in 24 years, but Sabella claims there will be no greater pressure on his side than usual.
“The pressure is always there. [Getting to the semi-finals] was an extra pressure, I have no doubt. Now it’s a different kind of pressure.
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Some have painted the match as an opportunity for Argentina to gain revenge for their quarter-final loss to Netherlands in 1998, but the coach insists there will be no such talk from him.
“Those are ugly words, revenge and vengeance, especially vengeance. This is football and those words are not in my dictionary."