Lucas BIGLIA gave a lengthy interview with La Nacion where he spoke about the Argentina National Team, retirement, the World Cup, Lionel MESSI and much more.
After getting criticized by Diego MARADONA, AC Milan midfielder replied back to the World Cup winner while also giving his opinion on the current crop of players. The following was translated by Juan G. ARANGO. Here’s what BIGLIA had to say:
Lucas BIGLIA comments on himself:
“I get very upset at myself, regardless of whether I win or lose a match. I look over everything and I discover that I missed here and I messed up there. It was never complete. In Finland (2003 U20 World Cup), I had the misfortune of injuring my shoulder in the semifinal we lost to Spain, in (2005 U20 World Cup) Netherlands, I came in during the second half for Fernando GAGO and in Brazil I was a starter, but we ended up exhausted.
The differences between Germany and Argentina:
“Germany took a 36 year old player (Miroslav KLOSE) for just one reason – to be the all-time leading scorer in World Cups. He then became a World Cup winner. Germany’s intention was to have Mr. Miroslav KLOSE make history. They left out Mario GOMEZ, who had a spectacular season… Meanwhile in Argentina we decide to doubt people that have given so much to the Argentina, people that never shied away from the team despite being criticized. In Argentina, they put on a show, and the most harmful was what people bought.
“When we stepped onto the pitch, we lost that feeling with them, because people bought that ‘show’ and then they took it with them to the stadium. When we left for Brazil, we were under the microscope. People were suspicious of us. After that, the results were what changed everyone’s perspective. No one expected us to get to the final, that was the reality.
Lucas BIGLIA on the media and Lionel MESSI’s “friends”:
“I was not going to blame the journalists, and many paid (the price) for others, but there was a ‘show’ that was made and they massacred us. That ‘show’ destroyed the connection we had with the people, even losing that feeling we had with them after the World Cup. I am not going to blame the media, we didn’t give everything that was expected of us and we didn’t achieve the goal. After we qualified against Ecuador, we spoke to the press again, we left a clear message. If we are together, we are much stronger.’
“The other day, I saw the ‘show’ again. Who had to be in? Who had to be out? MESSI’s friends. MASCHERANO. They already had a World Cup list up. You try to do things rights and it’s still no good. Of course, there are interests in media, that’s why they corrupt any relationship. Interests? (I mean) bad intentions, those types of interests that are there to hurt someone. Anyone can see that.
“(So much stupidity) hurts. Now there’s talk of MESSI’s friends. The fact that we have a good relationship with him, that we know each other for years, doesn’t allow people to say such stupid things. In the end, everything contaminates. I try not to read or hear anything. Instead of improving, growing, we destroy everything that costs us so much to get. For us Argentine’s, it is twice as hard. It is us that destroy everything we create.
Lucas BIGLIA replies to Diego MARADONA:
“I respect MARADONA’s opinion and I am fine with it. It was always my dream to play for Argentina. Thank God I did since I was 14. I am no one to answer him, I am not at his level to respond. I see him as an idol and want to conserve that image (of him).
Lucas BIGLIA on Lionel MESSI:
“MESSI is still then same (from 2005). He hasn’t changed. As a footballer, he’s grown immensely. While some of us grow step by step, he grows 10 steps at a time. He makes us stronger. Without him, we’d just be normal. He loves football. He watches any match. It doesn’t matter from what country or what division. Leo sits down and watches it.
“What has shocked me the most is how he has grown as a leader. A leader is not only the one that screams, each one has their way. He just has a way of getting in front of his teammates. He’s particular (as a leader) because he is so introverted. He doesn’t speak much… He just says the right words. The words he says to you in the dressing room and on the pitch are the necessary ones. If I say it, it sounds one way. When he does, it sounds totally different. He says it and it motivates you twofold.
“That makes him more of a leader that keeps tabs on everything around him, his teammates, his friends, his family and his coaching staff. He worries about everyone. His world is the one that surrounds him. If everything there is fine, you will see (MESSI) at his best.
On the FIFA World Cup:
“Our group is complicated. We play against the revelation of Europe (Iceland). After that Croatia who play some attractive football and then come Nigeria who just won AFCON. It won’t be easy. It will depend on how we work in each match and what we did in World Cup Qualifiers.
“On paper Spain, Germany and Brazil are favorites to win. These are teams that have worked with an established idea for an extended period of time. Germany have played like that for 12 years, Spain about the same. When you have a style, you have an advantage.
“We are behind the contenders. Keep in mind that during that time, we had three coaches and we had enormous changes within Argentine football. When there were changed like that, it is difficult at first. We paid for that dearly during World Cup Qualifiers also because we started out poorly.
“I considered leaving (Argentina) when MESSI retired. After the Copa America in the US, after missing the penalty in the shootout I asked, ‘should I keep going through this abuse?’
“After the moment subsides, you start to see new objectives. I want to keep going because it makes me happy. Why do I want to play for my club? Because I want to be called up by the national team. I want to represent my country. I want to play in big tournaments.
“There are many positives in (the three lost finals). But no one will ever remember who’s in second place. I think in all of our minds we have one thought- after all this suffering, there must be a tremendous prize awaiting us.
“Football has taught us that it is not about merits. We have had the consistency, we worked towards obtaining better results and nothing. Now we hope to have that bit of luck that that up to now we haven’t had.
Lucas BIGLIA on Javier MASCHERANO:
“Mascherano has given me a huge hand since the beginning. When you have a player like him beside you, it simplifies things. For a coach to have a “coach” on the pitch is a huge advantage. On the pitch, if you observe him, you will learn something all the time.
“If playing for Argentina is already pressure-packed, imagine playing with MASCHERANO on the bench. I hope he finds what he’s looking for- playing as a 5 once again. I hope he does well. If he does that will only help the national team grow. Only in Argentina do the doubt him.
Lucas BIGLIA on the past/present:
“Many people will have to recognize this generation in the end. I remove myself from this conversation. I just hope everyone can close out their international career as best as possible. Many have been harshly criticized, as was the case before them.
“We criticized VERON. We said that (his career) was going backwards, because he was playing in the Premier League. Look at how us Argentine’s are.
“But with this generation, one day they will say, ‘we don’t have an AGUERO, a DI MARIA, an HIGUAIN, a MASCHERANO.’ It is going to happen, because football is like that, not because we say it is. Today we miss BATISTUTA, AYALA, VERON, ZANETTI because there are no players like them. ‘You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,’ as the saying goes.
Lucas BIGLIA on the number 9 situation:
“(ICARDI) is another show. Here in Italy, they had me play a game and they asked me who I would have as a number nine on my team. Beyond ICARDI’s form or Dario BENEDETTO before his injury, the 9 I’d always pick is HIGUAIN. This has nothing to do with my relationship with him, although I have a great relationship with him, but it’s based on footballing taste.
“(HIGUAIN) is everything that I would like to have in a 9 if I were to be a coach. I didn’t say he has to come back to Argentina. I just said I hope that he gets another opportunity because he looks like he wants to come back.
“I don’t want to ‘put’ anyone on the team. ICARDI is there. BENEDETTO is there. Hopefully he recovers in time. There is also this kid Lautaro MARTINEZ, who is having an extraordinary season in Argentina. There are many players. But if you ask me, I want HIGUAIN on my team.”