Count Arsene Wenger among those happy that Lionel Messi and Argentina will be at the World Cup.

By 90Min
November 09, 2017

Arsene Wenger has expressed his delight that 'top class' Lionel Messi will grace the 2018 World Cup after Argentina qualified for next summer's tournament.

Messi and his international teammates were in danger of missing out on qualifying for the competition in Russia, but thanks to the forward inspiring his country to a 3-1 win over Ecuador in October, will show off his undoubted talents with his nation in eight months' time.

Speaking to Arsenal's official site about Messi, Wenger claimed that anyone who was passionate about football would want the mercurial superstar to be part of football's grandest international spectacle.

He said: “I’m personally very happy [to see Messi go to the World Cup]. 

“If you love football, you love to watch Messi. If you love football, you love Argentina as well. They always have top-class offensive players and they are spoilt for talent. Overall, I would say that I would have been sad if Argentina had not gone to the World Cup.

“In South America, you have 10 teams and only four go straight through. Team five has to go through the playoffs, so it looks much more difficult to me.

“You never beat a South American team easily either. It’s tough for everybody everywhere to go to Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay, Brazil or Chile. You have an array of difficult games. That’s certainly the most difficult place to qualify.”

One man who won't be present at the World Cup is Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez - the striker's nation Chile missing out on a place after they finished sixth in the CONMEBOL table last month.

Wenger stated that he thought La Roja had suffered from defensive issues in qualifying that prevented them from making it to a fourth World Cup in five attempts.

He added: “Watching them, they’ve suffered a little bit recently from conceding too many goals. I watched their final qualifier because I wanted to know what happened to them, and also to see how Alexis was treated in the game and how he finished the game.

“I must say that it was a very, very tough, competitive game with an unbelievable number of fouls in the game. It was a really tough game and that shows you that, in Brazil, even though they have qualified, there is no present in there.”

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