Argentina have entered a new era with some fresh faces surrounding Lionel Messi.
Udinese star Rodrigo de Paul and Paris Saint-Germain’s Leandro Paredes have played an increasingly influential role for the national team over the past two years.
And De Paul has shed light on their relationship with captain Messi – revealing he has told the pair they are “hated” by their opponents.
De Paul, 26, says he responded to Messi’s statement by telling him they “have to do the fighting” because they cannot allow their superstar to get involved.
“Messi tells Paredes and I that all our opponents hate us,” De Paul told Club 94.7.
“We responded by telling him that we have to do the fighting because we can’t send him to do it. We laughed a lot.”
De Paul also gave an insight into Messi’s leadership qualities and how they have been able to learn from arguably the greatest player of all-time.
“Messi made himself available [to us] as the captain that he is,” De Paul added.
“We’re in the group between the oldest and the youngest players.
“Sometimes we sit down and we listen to the experiences of the older players.”
De Paul, who has won 21 caps, discussed his pride at representing his country alongside Messi.
He added: “For me, the National Team is the best.
“I was always a lover and always dreamed of putting on the shirt. You don’t realise how big it is until you enter the field and wear those colours for the first time.
“You don’t want to take off the shirt anymore.”
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