Uruguay defender Diego Godin said it will take the entire team to stop Argentina star Lionel Messi in Thursday’s CONMEBOL World Cup qualifier.
The Uruguayans welcome five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi and fifth-placed Argentina to Montevideo with only one point separating the two South American nations.
Uruguay occupy one of four automatic qualification spots for next year’s World Cup and victory would see them move closer to a berth in Russia and Godin knows nullifying Messi is key to their hopes.
“I’ll speak more about the team but of course, Messi is a transcendental player, no matter the team or the position he’s in, and it’s a job for the whole team,” said Godin.
“Of course, making a great defensive job, make a great instalment, being close to each other to intercept any passes to Messi, specially the areas of the field where he can be more important, that’s important and it’s not only the defence’s job but the whole team’s.
“It starts from Luis [Suarez] and Edi [Edinson Cavani] and our focus must be at the top to be able to cut those circuits where Messi is more important.”
Uruguay could also be boosted by the inclusion of talisman Luis Suarez.
Suarez has been nursing a knee injury he suffered during Barcelona’s Supercopa de Espana second-leg loss to Real Madrid.
Barca granted Suarez permission to travel to Uruguay to continue his recovery amid the World Cup qualifying fixtures against Argentina and Paraguay.
Uruguay head coach Oscar Tabarez revealed Suarez could feature in the clash with Argentina and Godin added: “Everything Luis does gives more to talk about and with Luis, with what he suffered and what he has now has pushed himself beyond and made the decision to wanting to participate at any cost.
“To be in this match, that says a lot about the sense of longing we have with this national team, of what this last 10 years have generated. It’s not just luck, and also the responsibility Luis feels with the team and the whole country. So for us, his team-mates, and the youngsters that may come, he’s a clear example that we should look at and try to learn from.
“That’s why I’m so happy and I wouldn’t expect less from Luis, he has already showed in other occasions the compromise and the responsibility he has.”