• Daniele De Rossi said Lionel Messi plays as passionately for his national team as he does for Barcelona
  • The Italian legend and AS Roma great said Messi has bigger balls than everyone else in the sport
  • De Rossi admitted that while Cristiano Ronaldo is a great player, he likes Messi more

A World Cup legend has fired back at criticisms directed at Lionel Messi claiming he lacks the passion he gives Barcelona when playing for his national team, asserting that the captain has "bigger balls than everyone else."

After not having won a single World Cup title, Messi’s dedication and passion for international success have been questioned by fans and viewers at home. But for those who have witnessed him play in person, these criticisms don’t make sense at all. This is exactly how former AS Roma and 2006 World Cup winner Daniele De Rossi feels about Messi's current situation.

While speaking to Argentine daily newspaper La Nación (via 90min), De Rossi was asked to comment about the comments suggesting that the football superstar isn’t playing as passionately for his national team, Argentina, as he does for Barcelona.

According to the Italy legend, people have no right to criticize Messi from behind a computer. De Rossi emphasized that despite not being able to cop one trophy for his country, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner has no less guts and passion than the actual World Cup winners.

"How can you say Messi lacks passion, he has bigger balls than everyone else. There are people who have the courage to say Messi lacks passion behind a computer and then don't even have the guts to ask his wife for the TV remote to change the channel," De Rossi said (from translations by

"He lost two Copa America finals on penalties, and I'm a world champion on penalties. Look, he's a cold-blooded man in Argentina and I'm a hero along with my team-mates for winning the 2006 World Cup. And what's the difference? Five centimeters," he continued.

Lionel Messi is La Liga's leading scorer this season with 19 goals
Lionel Messi is La Liga's leading scorer this season with 19 goals AFP / LLUIS GENE

When asked about the Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo debate, De Rossi said that while Ronaldo is an exceptional player, he will always go for Messi.

"There's nothing more to explain in football terms, no more words. There are others who are very good, like Ronaldo, who can be compared in terms of numbers, goals and trophies, but then there is a question of pleasure, and I like to see Messi," De Rossi admitted.

Meanwhile, in La Liga, Messi and Barcelona are still being plagued with controversies. It has been reported in recent weeks that the 33-year-old could be leaving Barca when his contract expires in 2021.

La Liga ambassadors Luis Garcia and Frederic Kanoute recently weighed in on the subject and speculated that Barcelona might be in transition. The two both agreed that younger players may soon replace Messi as the most dominant player in La Liga.