Argentina’s friendly defeat to Nigeria in November last year was because Lionel Messi was absent, according to winger Angel Di Maria.
The Super Eagles came from two goals down to beat the two-time Fifa World Cup winners in a friendly in Russia, with Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Brian Idowu sharing the goals between them.
“I love playing with him [Messi], the best thing that can happen to a player is to play with the best and with the aliens, you value playing with him…” said Angel Di María to Fox Sports Radio.
“Everybody has a good time in the clubs and in the national team when Leo is not there all of us want to assume that role, but being so used to playing with him it is difficult when he is not in.
“We all try to do our best, good first half against Nigeria and then the game got away, it got out of hand but at times we do things right.”
Di Maria and his Argentina teammates will come up against Nigeria again in the 2018 World Cup, with the teams set to meet in their final Group D match in Saint Petersburg on June 26.