In the wake of his two-week suspension for an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia this week, Lionel Messi has found support from an unlikely source, in Nantes manager Antoine Kombouaré.
Kombouaré, whose team will look to lift themselves back out of the relegation zone when they host Strasbourg on Sunday, came to the Argentine’s defence during his press conference on Friday afternoon, as covered by AFP.
The manager sought to defend the former Barcelona man in the face of criticism over his absence this week, as well as his performances on the pitch:
“I don’t give a toss about what happens on the pitch, the problems at PSG. I love the player. You don’t touch Messi, whatever he does. Right now we’re coming down on the guy, it’s shameful… If he leaves, I’ll be very happy. We don’t deserve him.”
“If I had Messi I would tell him: “You stay up front, never run, never defend. But when we give you the ball I want to see you, play, enjoy yourself, shine.” But that’s just my opinion as a lover of the game.”
Messi will miss the next two league games for PSG – potentially even the rest of the campaign – and is barred from the training ground, as well as having is pay docked for that period. The World Cup winner was one of the players targeted by insults from protesting fans on Wednesday, which has led to the club increasing security around his home – as they have done around the training ground and the homes of Marco Verratti and Neymar as well.
GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin