Barcelona's Messi is different from Argentina own - Umtiti

World Cup 2018 By: Ikponmwosa Umweni | 29/06/2018

Lionel Messi, Argentina

Barcelona's Lionel Messi is different from Argentina own, according to club team-mate Samuel Umtiti on Thursday.

The 31-year-old struggled to inspire La Albiceleste to the round of 16 at the World Cup and, prior to the final match against Nigeria, in which he scored a brilliant opener that saw his performances drew criticism.

The France centre back has been Messi’s teammate for two years and he comes against the Barcelona talisman when Les Bleus take on Argentina in a mouth-watering encounter in the knocked stage on Saturday.

Umtiti, who is expected to start at the Kazan Arena after being rested in France’s last group game against Denmark, said: "I see him every day. It is very hard to stop him. He’s got outstanding qualities.

"We will try to stop him but he’s not the only one in this Argentina team, they have other strikers.”But while Messi can rely on a reliable Luis Suarez at Barca, he is a bit more on his own with Argentina, with Gonzalo Higuain having notably not scored in his last eight outings with the national team.

He also has to deal with the weight of a whole nation expecting him to win the World Cup in what is likely to be his last shot at the biggest trophy in football.

"He is different with Argentina than with Barcelona,” said Umtiti.“He does not have the same players with him and their way of playing is different but he has saved them on several occasions.

"The Argentineans are tough on him, but he cannot do everything on his own.”

"I really feel that he doesn't live football like others do - in the way he sees it, in the choices he makes and in the goals he scores," 

"He just keeps scoring goals after goals. He has it in him. He doesn't like losing. He always wants to win games and titles. I didn't expect that from him because he already won everything. It's his state of mind." Umtiti added.

Argentina beat Nigeria 2-1 in their final Group D match in Saint Petersburg and move to the knockout stage of the competition.