Barcelona play as a team, Argentina rely on Messi - Alfio Basile

The former boss of the South American nation gave his thoughts on why one of the game's biggest superstars cannot replicate his club form for his country
Former Argentina coach Alfio Basile believes that Lionel Messi's failure to shine at international level is down to his country's reliance on the diminutive forward.

Basile, who took charge of Argentina on two occasions, thinks that Messi flourishes in Pep Guardiola's Barcelona team, who have the ability to control the play from deeper areas due to their vast array of talent.

"They feel comfortable [at Barcelona] because the team does not play for him. They play as a team, for Barcelona," he told EFE. "They play through Xavi, Sergio Busquets and then there is also Dani Alves.

"However, for Argentina, the first thing any player does is to give it to Messi and hope that he will create everything."

The veteran 67-year-old also believes that the different style of football in South America, where defenders are more uncompromising, is another contributory factor in nullifying the threat of Messi.

"Here out on the pitch they give you many kicks and you end the game with torn socks. The South American defender is much more difficult than the European. In Spain, they are much cleaner and allow you to play."

Basile refuses to buy the hype surrounding Santos striker Neymar, whom he feels is far from the finished article.

"He has potential but he needs to learn," he explained. "He still has progress to make and it is not the same thing playing in his local team in Brazil as playing for a European club. He is a work in progress, not the real thing."