Years After Lionel Messi Vomited as Argentina Gasped For Oxygen, Upcoming Rival ‘Kills Him Psychologically’, Claims Bolivia Star

Published 09/09/2023, 12:08 PM EDT

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The last time Lionel Messi played in the city of La Paz, Bolivia, he and his teammates were left gasping for oxygen. In fact, Bolivia is one of the very few oppositions in the world who have managed to stifle Leo’s goalscoring threat at their home stadium. Bolivia’s former goalkeeper also agreed with that idea and explained how the 3637-meter height of their home stadium has an adverse psychological impact on La Pulga. 

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In a recent interview with D Sports Radio, ex-Bolivian soccer star José Carlos Fernández laid out reasons why Messi has struggled against Bolivia at their home ground. He then boldly claimed that due to these reasons, the highland team is not afraid of the threat posed by the Argentines.  

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Last night saw Argentina start their World Cup Qualifiers on a positive note as they beat Ecuador 1-0. The goalscorer, as expected, was Lionel Messi as his stunning freekick was enough to seal the deal for the Argentines. However, he couldn’t complete the match citing fatigue.

Unfortunately for Lionel Messi, things are only going to get tougher in the next match as he is set to face Bolivia in their own backyard, where he has struggled immensely. In fact, in 2013, the situation got so bad that the 7-time Ballon d’Or was sick throughout the match and ended up vomiting while receiving oxygen support.

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Bolivia’s former goalkeeper, José Carlos Fernández, also opined the same as he believes Leo’s two worst matches of his career have come at Bolivia’s home stadium. In fact, the ex-goalkeeper expressed how the 3637-meter-high stadium placement was the reason for his poor outings. When asked to weigh in on the reports that Leo might miss the game, Fernández said that he would since it is the World Cup winner’s soft spot.

“If you ask me, I prefer him to play; the two worst games in his history as a soccer player have been in the city of La Paz, I have seen him suffer,” said the former soccer star. “The height kills him psychologically. I don’t think he’s going to play on this date,” the Bolivian added. 

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Despite pointing out the shortcomings of the Inter Miami player, José Carlos Fernández didn’t shy away from praising Leo. The former goalie then went on a praising spree as he credited La Pulga for Argentina’s World Cup victory.

José Carlos Fernández credits La Pulga for La Scaloneta’s World Cup triumph

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After delving into Leo’s struggle, Fernández quickly shifted the perspective to Leo’s World Cup performances amidst the Ballon d’Or discussions. The former Bolivian goalkeeper opined that if not for Leo, the Argentine National Team wouldn’t have won the World Cup. He also credited La Scaloneta’s goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez for his contributions.

via Imago

“I think the Argentine National Team won the World Cup thanks to him [Lionel Messi],” said the director of Club Bolívar. The former soccer star then praised Dibu Martinez and his famous expertise at penalty shootouts. Jose believed that a part of Argentina’s victory was because of Dibu’s proficiency in the decisive shootout stage. “He wins the matches as it suits him and that’s perfect.”

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Do you agree with José Carlos Fernández’s assessment? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Written by:

Suresh Menon

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Suresh Menon is a soccer writer at EssentiallySports with over 400 articles to his name. Being an ace defender back in his school days, Suresh grew up admiring the famed ‘BBC’ of Juventus which is why the Italian club is his favorite. His love for soccer from an early age combined with his flair for communication is the reason why he decided to pursue sports journalism at ES.
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Edited by:

Jayant Chhabra

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