Simeone critcizes Messi, Argentina 'anarchy' in audio recording

Cesc Fabregas Lionel Messi

BBCLionel Messi plays with a lower quality of opponent at Argentina says Fabregas

"Out of these 10, only seven or eight were fouls".

Cesc Fabregas is downplaying the play of Cristiano Ronaldo during World Cup play and also contends that the struggles of Argentina don't exclusively fall on Lionel Messi's shoulders.

Against Iceland, Messi saw his penalty spot kick saved by goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson, and the game ended 1-1.

Simone went on to express his frustration at the lack of leadership shown by everyone involved in Argentina's side, adding: "What we saw against Croatia is the picture of what has happened over the past four years, unfortunately".

"Messi is human", Aguero said after the Iceland match. We need to be with him.

Ronaldo had a bad match. "Hope he is better against Croatia".

"What's happening to the team right now is what has happened to Argentina in these last four disgraceful years: anarchy, no leadership from the players, coaches or directors".

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Simeone also appeared to call into question the true quality of Argentina's usual talisman Lionel Messi, who has had a minimal impact at tournament in Russian Federation and missed a penalty against Iceland in the Group D opener, while his rival Cristiano Ronaldo has scored four times for Portugal.

Sampaoli gave this comment in response to a question about Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been subtly proclaiming his status as the "Greatest Of All Time" throughout what has been an admittedly incredible World Cup on his part so far.

Ronaldo isn't entirely alone in starting strong. "Nigeria is going to beat Iceland and there you will have the chance to beat Nigeria and pass, as long as Iceland does not win against Croatia".

Neymar spent plenty of time on the ground looking for opposition players to be booked after fouls and was ineffective for the main despite having the obvious talent to worry defences.

It's early, and the tournament has seen plenty of stellar play from lesser-known players, but it's clear the star scorers are struggling.

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