As German football executives, coaches, players, and fans all were stunned by the second consecutive group stage exit for the national team, there was also an outsider or two who found the whole situation shocking: Argentina mainstay and Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi.
Messi did not foresee Germany’s talented mix of veterans and youngsters being ousted so early.
“It surprised me because they had many important players, a young team and because Germany is always among the best. It’s surprising that they were eliminated in the group stage once again,” Messi told Diario Ole (as captured by @iMiaSanMia). “But this is the World Cup, which shows how difficult it is and how the name of the team no longer matters.”
Messi’s own Argentina side advance to the quarterfinals with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Australia. One of the game’s all-time greats is inching closer to securing a World Cup. Some of Messi’s teammates can see a fire inside of him — including Inter Milan star Lautaro Martinez.
“To see Lionel Messi giving everything on the pitch.. I get goosebumps. As a teammate you give everything for him. He is the greatest of them all. To have him as my teammate makes me extremely proud,” Martinez told AD.nl.