PRETORIA - A brilliant World Cup for Lionel Messi would be good for Argentina's chances of victory although it is preferable to rely on the team and not one man however great, according to defender Gabriel Heinze.
"I personally think it's the team that makes you win these very difficult championships," Heinze said three days before Argentina's opening Group B match against Nigeria.
"Lionel is the best in the world, the player who today is in his best form, but Argentina do not depend on Lionel," the battle-hardened 32-year-old told a news conference.
"Argentina depend on each one of the players who go onto the pitch. We don't need to put any pressure on Lio or anyone," he said after a team practice.
"We all lose and we all win (together) and Lio is one more (among us), it's impressive what he does but he's a human being and people forget he can have good days and bad days.
"Let's hope he has them all good for the good of Argentina. I hope the team is the star of the World Cup," said Heinze, like Messi a member of the Argentina squad that reached the quarter-finals in Germany in 2006.
Argentina meet Nigeria at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday with Messi tipped to inspire the team to victory and seal his place as the greatest player of his generation.
Much will depend, however, on whether coach Diego Maradona, criticised during a poor qualifying campaign last year, has managed to mould a team during two weeks of tightly guarded preparations at their University of Pretoria bunker.
Heinze said the outcome of the tournament would tell what kind of coach Maradona, who had little experience to speak of when the took the job in late 2008, was.
"It's down to us players whether he's a good coach or not. Hopefully at the end of this championship Maradona will have been the best coach."comments