Lionel Messi's World Cup promise to Rodrigo De Paul showcases Argentine's elite mentality
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Lionel Messi's World Cup promise to injured team mate Rodrigo De Paul has reaffirmed why the Argentine is considered by many to be the greatest of all-time.
De Paul had been a mainstay in the Argentina side in the early stages of their World Cup campaign, but after suffering a muscular injury in the build-up to their quarter-final clash with the Netherlands, the Atletico Madrid midfielder feared that his World Cup dreams may be over.
Wary of the fact that this may be his final chance to get his hands on the coveted Jules Rimet trophy, De Paul approached Messi to discuss the idea of playing through the pain barrier.
However - as reported by Goal via Fox Sports Argentina - Messi quickly shut down the prospect of De Paul worsening his injury, instead promising his international teammate that he would ensure that he had the chance to play in the semi-finals:
"He told me: ‘I promise I’ll take you to the semi-finals but don’t risk that you’ll most likely be left out."
De Paul admits that he had toyed with the idea of contradicting his captain, but admitted that the advice wasn't that of his captain, but of a friend:
"I didn’t know whether to contradict him. It’s very difficult because he doesn’t tell me as a captain, but as a friend or an older brother."
After recovering quicker than expected, De Paul went on to start the quarter-final clash with Netherlands, lasting just over an hour before being removed as a precaution.
Messi stuck to his word though as he navigated his nation past a tricky Netherlands outfit and onto a World Cup semi-final with Croatia.
De Paul would reclaim his position in the starting XI for the semi-final, before realising his dream of being a World Cup winner as he helped his side past France in a thrilling World Cup final that will be remembered for years to come.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Lionel Messi, Football World Cup, Argentina