Nicolás Tagliafico gave an interview where he spoke about being an Argentina national team player, how France treats him since winning the World Cup, Lionel Messi retiring and the comparisons with FC Barcelona.
Tagliafico is one of the veterans on the team, having beein part of the 2018 World Cup and 2022 World Cup teams. Speaking in an interview with La Nácion, Tagliafico commented on the responsibilities of the Argentina national team. Here is what he had to say:
“It’s not just being a national team player but looking like a national team player. You have to be very responsable. When I talk about values, I mean humility, good sense and discipline. From tucking the shirt in your pants, no matter how small the example may seem, the national team can also be a school of values.”
The 31 year old also spoke about how it was for him joining the Argentina national team after the 2014 World Cup:
“If the boys from 2014 would have been champions, maybe what is happening now would happen, that is, spending three or four more years having a good time. Those guys who suffered so much for the national team left something behind: Belonging. And with their example, they made the new generation see that we had to rise again.
“I was in the middle of both generations and little by little, something started to be built. It was like a wheel. From the bottom it started to turn upwards. Perhaps those times we were fortunate in that we did not suffer so much pressure from the press and without many repercussions, we were building brick by brick. An opportunity opened up for the newcomers without pressure because they were not burdened with guilt or defeats.
“That is what happened to me in 2018 in Russia. I had no pressure. That pressure was carried by Mascherano, Higuaín, Leo. And something similar happened to these guys, they came to a fairly organized national team and they only had to show what they were doing at their clubs.”
In regards to winning the World Cup and how he is treated in France:
“I think there was a click for them. Today, the French look at me with respect, with much more respect than before.
“But they also look at me with this envy, as if to tell me: “You screwed us, you won against us.” When they get the chance, they show me.
“It’s part of the game. I’m playing in the country we won the World Cup against. It’s the way it is, it’s what happens and it’s part of the rules.”
He was also asked about Lionel Messi and possibly playing at the 2026 World Cup:
“Do you know what the key is for Messi to play in the 2026 World Cup? Win Copa America next year.
“If we would not have won the World Cup in Qatar, he would have left. But he won it and he wants to enjoy these months. But if we go to the United States and win the Copa America, he will want to continue.”
Tagliafico commented on the national team being compared with the legendary FC Barcelona team:
“I don’t think you can compare national teams with club teams. One of them sees each other every day, train together every day and fight together on the weekend. With the national team, you get together every bit and at a World Cup, you are together a few days before, they are seven finals.
“That Barcelona team played an all-out attacking game. I got to enjoy it and anyone could score goals, give assists or appear anywhere. They were ultra-offensive and had a lot of possession. I think the national team has more qualities. I feel that the national team is more fluid and moves where it suits them. We are like putty, we adapt to everything. Barcelona was very defined, you knew how they played and it was very difficult to control them.
“The national team is also very defined but because of this trait, that of versatility and the power of adaptation. The adaptation to know when you have the ball, when to defend, when to survive and when to go out and when to run. And all that makes for a great team.
“Individually, those Barcelona players had to be ultra-offensive to only focus on the opponent’s goal. On the other hand, in this national team, you have to play for your team mate, knowing that one day you will have to play higher up, another day you will have to defend more and another day you will have to be smarter to get the ball.”