'Messi gets pissed off if he's not given the ball' - Xavi

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The forma Barca midfielder says Argentina can win the 2018 World Cup but they must not leave his former club colleague without the ball

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi has revealed Lionel Messi gets "pissed off" if he's not given the ball. 

The duo played alongside each other in Catalunya, winning seven Liga titles together, until Spain international Xavi left for Qatari club Al Sadd in 2015. 

Messi is used to getting his own way at Barca and has seen pressure on him to deliver increased since Neymar departed for Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain before the 2017-18 season.

Messi 7/2 to be CL top scorer

The Argentina international has scored 11 league goals in seven outings this term, 48 per cent of the club's total haul, as Ernesto Valverde's side sit five points clear at the top of the table.

Things aren't going as smoothly for Messi on international duty, however, with Messi failing to score from open play in 2017.

Messi gfx

And Xavi has moved to support his former team-mate, warning both Barca and Argentina they must keep Messi involved or risk the star getting annoyed.

"Barcelona and the Argentine national team cannot afford to allow 10 minutes to pass in a game without Leo Messi touching the ball," Xavi told Sport.

"Messi has to be involved in the game. He has to be where things are happening, where the ball is.

"In addition, he's going to get pissed off. If he doesn't touch the ball for five minutes, you have to bring him to where the ball is. He has to participate in the play." 

Lionel Messi Xavi Barcelona

Argentina host Peru in Thursday evening's crucial World Cup qualifier, with Jorge Sampaoli's men currently on course for play-off with New Zealand.

Messi and Co then travel to Ecuador in their final group game as they continue their attempt turning around a miserable string of performances under former Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli.

Despite Argentina's recent troubles, however, Xavi believes they can go on to win the World Cup should they eventually qualify for the tournament.

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"I think Argentina are capable of winning the World Cup next year," he added.

"It's true they're in a difficult situation in South American qualifying, but we can all agree that if they qualify for the World Cup they will be one of the favourites. Because of the players they have and because I think they've got it right with the new manager [Sampaoli].

"Everyone in Spain rates Sampaoli."

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