Messi heroics a team effort, says Sabella
04 July 2014, 19:32
Brasilia - Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella on Friday rejected suggestions that his team are overly dependent on four-time world player of the year Lionel Messi.
Sabella stressed the help that Messi gets from his team-mates.
"Any team that has a player like Messi will greatly depend on him," said Sabella, whose side face Belgium in the World Cup quarter-finals in Brasilia on Saturday.
"But I believe that what he's doing is the work of the entire team. He's the best player in the world, but he's part of a team."
Messi helped to settle Argentina's last-16 tie against Switzerland with an extra-time assist for Angel Di Maria, but Sabella was eager to flag up the work of substitute Rodrigo Palacio in the build-up.
"The goal the other day was a ball won by Palacios -- a forward playing as a midfielder," Sabella added.
"He gave it to Messi and Messi received it in a good position, which allowed him to pass the ball to Di Maria."
With four goals and two assists to his name, Messi has been directly responsible for six of the seven goals that Argentina have scored in Brazil.
Sabella, though, feels it is unfair to suggest Argentina are over-reliant on the Barcelona superstar, who failed to score at the 2010 tournament in South Africa.
"Four years ago he was criticised. Now they say we depend on Messi too much," said Sabella. "It's not easy."