By James Ojo

Argentina and Barcelona ace, Lionel Messi, on driving his home country to the World Cup declared that the showdown in Russia in 2018 will be ‘crazy’ without himself and his teammates.

Argentina were on the brink of missing out on a ticket to next year’s tournament after a string of dismal performances before Messi’s hat-trick did the magic on a historic night in Ecuador.

And after helping his country secure qualification ticket, Messi believes next year’s World Cup would have lacked the needed spark if they had failed to qualify.

“It would have been crazy a World Cup without Argentina,” he said.

He continued: “Fortunately everything went well and we are into the World Cup.

“We are calm now after achieving the main goal – that is the most important thing. All this time that we were away from the press, the fans helped us to be closer.

“It would have been crazy a World Cup without Argentina, this group didn’t deserve it. The team will change, will grow a lot and will come out stronger.

“It was a relief because we were in a tough spot. We got ourselves into this mess. It was not easy to play here, a lot of things happen from my mind when the 0-1 came, but the group overcame the situation very well and was quick to take the lead.

“There was some fear of missing the World Cup. We let pass a lot of opportunities and we had to decide our future in this game. We had to qualify, now it’s time to enjoy.”

Argentina went into Tuesday’s game against Ecuador likely needing a result to book their flight to Russia next summer, and Messi helped them overcome an early deficit to rally to victory, scoring twice before half-time and adding his third after the break to seal the win.

Messi’s hat-trick took him to 21 career CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying goals, breaking Hernan Crespo’s record of 19, with Uruguay’s Luis Suarez also matching him with a brace on Tuesday against Bolivia.

Author: Yemi Olarinre