Ban Lionel Messi until he proves he is human, Iran coach tells FIFA
Though it is a far-fetched call, Iran coach, Carlos Queiroz, insists Messi is too good to be true.
Queiroz, a former Manchester United’s assistant manager, is obviously joking. The manager has been a long-time admirer of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. Messi, it was, that broke Iranian hearts with a stunning stoppage-time winner at the group stages of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Iran will play at the World Cup in Russia this year, and if they managed to make it beyond the group stages would want to avoid playing Argentina.
Only clause, to progress to the knockout stages Iran must somehow manage to come at least second in a group that has Spain, Morocco and reigning European champions Portugal, who are captained by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Speaking to FIFA, Queiroz said,
“I’ve always said that Messi is an extraordinary player. He’s out of this world. If he were human, he wouldn’t have had that magical moment in that match.
“I don’t usually like losing, but I didn’t come away from that defeat with a negative feeling.
“It’s when something magical like that happens that you know that football is alive and kicking. And that’s why it’s one of the best sports in the world to watch.
“And it’s even more of a special moment when it comes from a player who shouldn’t be allowed to play by FIFA until it’s proven that he’s actually human!”
Queiroz knows Ronaldo well from their time together at Old Trafford. Speaking of the Real Madrid forward, he said
“It’s going to be special, as it always is when you take on great players. In this case, it’s the best player in the world.
“But when the match starts there are just two teams who are trying to win. Football will decide who wins the day and who was better on the field of play.
“The memories stay with you, of course they do, especially in shared projects like we had at Manchester and the Portuguese national team. That was a long time ago, though.
“Times have changed and now I’ve got other Ronaldos with me. They’re important players… the likes of [Alireza] Jahanbakhsh, [Reza] Ghoochannejad, [Ali] Karimi.
“These are the Ronaldos I’ve got to look after now and who I’ve got to pay attention to achieve the success we all want.”