Argentina must thank God they have Messi – Diego Costa

The Atletico Madrid hitman believes Tuesday's international shows the Barcelona ace deserves to be cut more slack by critics back home

Diego Costa believes Spain’s 6-1 win over Argentina on Tuesday indicates just how valuable Lionel Messi is to his country.

Goals from Costa, Thiago Alcantara, Iago Aspas and a hat-trick from Isco led La Roja to a comfortable success over opponents who were bereft of their star man due to a slight injury issue. 

While Messi has been at times criticised for his performances with the national team, Atletico Madrid striker Costa believes that, in reality, he makes a terrific difference to his side.

“You have to do an analysis in all aspects,” he said of the man whose hat-trick qualified Argentina for the summer’s World Cup. “The Argentines criticise Messi a lot, but you can tell that when Messi is not there, they are something else.

“A player like Messi should not be criticised. You should thank God that he’s there.

“Messi must always be treated well. Even if he plays a bad game with the national team, having him on the field makes a difference.”

Meanwhile, the Atletico Madrid man is delighted to be back in the fold after being frozen out of action in the first half of the season at Chelsea and is looking forward to Russia 2018.

“This team wants to do something big again,” he affirmed. “This is a good team for the World Cup.

“I had a bad time for six months because I was not playing, but I knew that when I came back, I could do well, and being in the national team makes me very excited.”