By most accounts, Lionel Messi is off to a flying start at the 2014 World Cup. After three matches, he’s tied with the Brazilian Neymar and Germany’s Thomas Mueller as the tournament’s joint top-scorer so far.
But apparently there’s just no pleasing some people, especially when those people are family.
Despite the fact that Messi has netted four goals at the World Cup, almost singlehandedly dragged Argentina into the round of 16, and is one of only two players to have scored in all three of his nation’s group stage matches, his grandfather remains ‘unconvinced’ regarding the four-time World Player of the Year’s performance at the World Cup.
“I’m truthful, I don’t have time for hot air. He looks a little weak. He doesn’t run like he used to,” said Antonio Cuccitini, Messi’s maternal grandfather, speaking to Channel 3 from Rosario, Argentina, where Messi was born.
“He’s electric in Spain; he leaves all 22 players feeling dizzy. He’s not running now; I’m unconvinced.”
Cuccitini was interviewed last week on Messi’s 27th birthday and apparently, is not only unconvinced regarding the Argentina forward's performances, but also a bit concerned for him.
“I see him vomiting and it scares me. I don’t know what that is about. They say it’s nerves, but I’m not so sure. They’ve looked at everything and found nothing. Lionel used to run a lot. It really worries me; I can’t help it,” said Cuccitini.
The sight of Messi vomiting on the pitch has been a common one in the past few months, both with Argentina and his club, Barcelona. The official line is that it’s down to nerves, although former Barca coach Tata Martino told the press there was something wrong with Messi last season and that he’d been to see a specialist.
Vomiting aside, despite being unconvinced so far, Cuccitini, for his part, remains optimistic about Messi and Argentina’s chances at the World Cup.
“He will raise his game in coming matches,” said Cuccitini. “He’s not God, who can do it all. Praise be that he got the goal against Iran and we’ve qualified. He’ll raise his game in the coming matches; he’ll play better.”
Messi will have another chance to convince his grandfather on Tuesday when Argentina take on Switzerland in a World Cup round of 16 knockout clash.