"He must be bored, exhausted or disgusted, he gives everything for Barcelona but doesn't for Argentina".
Messi may be struggling to inspire his side in Russian Federation but it was the Barcelona star who who netted Argentina's first spot-kick of a semi-final shootout against Netherlands.
Reports in Argentina and Spain since that humiliation in Nizhny Novgorod have suggested that Sampaoli has lost the faith of his squad, with some going so far as to suggest that the players will select the starting XI and tactics in St Petersburg.
Argentina is on the brink of World Cup elimination - and that is not good enough for its demanding fans. Not even Messi was able to bail them out.
With no Copa America trophy to show, Messi's solitary worldwide accomplishment is the country's gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"It is going to be a hard game for them, we have to fight together and do everything possible to beat them in that game despite they have good players and are a quality side". Messi scored a hat trick and Argentina booked a ticket to Russian Federation.
For Iceland, they will sweat on the fitness of two key players.
Three finals in three years, that's not so shabby for a guy who played 50-plus other games each year for Barcelona.
Lionel Messi has given Argentina a 1-0 lead in its must-win World Cup match against Nigeria with his first goal of the competition. That Argentina conceded 16 goals shows how crucial Messi's goals were.
Iceland, meanwhile, is the nation with the smallest population ever to qualify for a World Cup with 350,000 inhabitants.
Javier Mascherano has confirmed a players' meeting with the beleaguered coach in recent days but, with Sampaoli bearing the brunt of the criticism in Argentina, the former Chile and Sevilla coach delivered a blunt riposte to his critics who, he claimed, live in the "virtual world".
"At times like this, there is a huge pressure on him because people expect too much, and for him to do everything for the national team". The reality is Messi is failing as a captain, as a leader.
"It is the most critical situation I have experienced, along with the Ecuador game", said Argentina midfielder Lucas Biglia on Sunday.
"It is not nice to say we have a reserve team".
He reportedly stayed alone in his hotel room during a team and family barbecue after the Iceland tie.
After a draw and a loss in their opening two World Cup games Argentina are on the verge of going out in the Group Stages and Lionel Messi is coming under a lot of criticism but he shouldn't be the only one.
In their hour of need, Argentina need Messi's best once more.