Rafael Nadal has thrown his support behind Lionel Messi and Argentina to recover from their opening-day shock loss to Saudi Arabia in the ongoing World Cup.
Saudi Arabia stunned Argentina 2-1 in their Group C clash in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament.
Nadal, who made his comments prior to an exhibition match against Casper Ruud at Parque Roca in Buenos Aires, Argentina, before beating the Norwegian 7-6(8) 6-2, did not sound too alarmed by the upset.
“I’m not one for extremes, neither too much euphoria nor too much catastrophe,”.
“The world hasn’t changed… They simply lost a game and there are two to go. The least they deserve is confidence and respect.
“They come from being champions of America, from having one of the best winning streaks in history, so why lose confidence? I still think Argentina is a clear candidate to go far.”
Nadal was also full of praise for Lionel Messi who is captaining Argentina at the World Cup, despite the 35-year-old having played for Barcelona, Real Madrid’s arch-rivals who the Spaniard supports.
“Messi took things away from Real for years but in the end, as a sports lover, you appreciate someone so special,” Nadal said. “In La Liga, we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy him in the best years of his sporting career.
“He has given us special moments in the world of sport, he’s one of the top players in the history of football and sport”.
Both Messi and Argentina will look to get their World Cup campaign back on track against Mexico on Sunday 27th November (00:00 PKT).