- World Cup
Messi struggling with exhaustion
Lionel Messi is struggling with "exhaustion" before the World Cup final against Germany, according to his father.
Messi failed to make an impact in Argentina's last two matches as the country made it through to Sunday's showpiece thanks to a penalty shootout victory in their goal-less semi-final against the Netherlands and the game's solitary goal in their quarter-final against Belgium.
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The pressure of being captain and carrying the hopes of his country appears to have taken its toll on him as he found it difficult to make an impact. "He is exhausted," Messi's father Jorge said, according to the Daily Telegraph. "He feels as if his legs weigh 100 kilos each."
According to FIFA statistics, however, Messi is only ranked the 30th most hard-working player at the World Cup on the basis of distance covered. He has run a total of 32 miles in the six games he has featured in, having played for 573 minutes. By contrast, the Netherlands' Wesley Sneijder has covered 43 miles in 585 minutes and tops the list. Messi is also second-from-bottom on the list of players who have played in all six games of the tournament so far.
Messi is still in contention for the Golden Boot despite his disappointing form. He has scored four goals and is two behind leader James Rodriguez of Colombia.
His feelings on fatigue and the final have not been fully examined, though, as Argentina have restricted their media work while in Brazil and earned a fine for the way they have sheltered their players.
FIFA has handed out a £198,000 penalty to the country's FA for failing to bring players to pre-match news conferences, with its Disciplinary Committee saying on Thursday that they had breached the competition's media and marketing regulations.
Only coach Alejandro Sabella has appeared for Argentina at the last four such news conferences.
FIFA said the purpose of the regulations is to "allow media, and ultimately fans, to have an opportunity to follow a team's preparations, while also allowing each team to have the best possible environment for those preparations".