Footballing connoisseurs all over the world are feasting on the FIFA World Cup, and to tell the truth, it’s nothing short of a festival for them. But for a country in the southern half of South America, it hardly seems to be a feast worth celebrating.
Argentina ended their World Cup opener with a 1-1 scoreline against Iceland and a point in Group D. Kudos to the Scandinavians for emerging with a point after an impressive display of defensive resilience. However, they are the least of anybody’s worries at the moment.
Time and again Lionel Messi has been held at gunpoint for not delivering and the game against Iceland was no different. The little magician was denied a penalty and he found himself being guillotined for the same at the end of 90 minutes.
Why doesn’t he deliver for Argentina? That’s a question asked by each and every one of the Albiceleste faithful. And when he is pitted against his nemesis Ronaldo, the comparison aggravates the vexation, given how the Portuguese talisman carries his nation almost single-handedly on numerous occasions (including recently against Spain).
Here’s an attempt to build up a case for the Barca forward and his lamentable mishaps at
Having a player like Lionel Messi in your team is a stuff of dreams; deep down in our hearts we all have longed and wished to see the Barcelona forward in the colours of our favourite clubs, barring the ever so lucky Barcelona fans.
However having Messi on the team comes with a big negative. His teammates rely on him to deliver in every single game – a condition referred to as Messidependencia. In other words, they tend to shy away from taking responsibilities.
Let’s take the game vs Iceland as an example. The likes of Maximiliano Meza and Angel Di Maria, Messi’s partners in the midfield, hardly created any chances for their subordinates to score.
They weren’t ready to take the risk and passed the ball to Messi a number of times, expecting him to create the magic for Albiceleste.
Now scoring or even creating chances against Iceland’s defence was no easy task, given their tight defensive set-up and almost 3 or 4 players breathing down Messi’s neck to neutralize him.
Yet Messi did his best to save Argentina by creating 3 chances and taking 10 shots on goal. But unfortunately, it wasn’t his day to rejoice.
Call him the GOAT or one of the best, no footballer can play well if his teammates don’t take up equal responsibilities and do their part in helping the team win games.
A fact to note – Lionel Messi might have done great things, but in the end he is still blood, flesh and bone – a human. The Argentina squad needs to realize this and carry out their required and fair share of duties if they desire to win silverware for their nation.
Over the years, winning an international trophy seems to have become an obsession for Lionel Messi, a task he wants to get done with as quickly as possible.
With him losing 4 finals and Cristiano Ronaldo winning the Euro in 2016, the pressure on his shoulders has mounted to the zenith.
Ronaldo lifted the Euro 2016 trophy with an average squad of players, which is appreciable. However, it’s the same squad that also relieves him or his country of the expectations and pressure of being favourites for any national level competitions.
Meaning no disrespect to CR7 or his ability to perform under pressure, but players definitely do better when they are relaxed.
At Argentina, Messi doesn’t have the same advantage. They have a number of big names like Di Maria, Higuain and many others, which makes them favourites for every other title they compete for.
However, the fact that many of these players go missing in big games seems to escape the minds of critics. They have failed their country a number of times, but it is Messi who takes the blame for all the failures.
Agree to it or not, but the histories of both nations too have an effect on both the titans.
The Real Madrid man is a benchmark at Portugal for delivering their first ever international title, a feat for which he will always be worshiped for in his country.
He’ll hardly be criticized even if he doesn’t win the World Cup, knowing Portugal are far from being the favourites in the tournament.
In comparison to Ronaldo, Messi faces more weight of expectations, given the fact that he hails from a country which has already won the World Cup twice. He has the giant boots of the great Maradona to fill if he wishes to be considered as a hero in his nation.
The constant comparisons with Maradona and not winning an accolade in spite of having a better squad of players in contrast to CR7 will always act as a negative for the Argentinian and his claim as the greatest of all time.
That mammoth level of pressure is perhaps one of the crucial reasons why the Barcelona man has fallen short of the expectations of his countrymen
Cristiano Ronaldo’s obsession with winning is one of the vital qualities that sets him apart from his peers.
No matter how low he might fall, he has the required drive and an almost unquenchable thirst to claw back and be the best in games, something that also makes him a leader worth having in any team.
Lionel Messi unfortunately seems miles behind Ronaldo in that department. The Barcelona forward appears to be a beaten man on numerous occasions when his team is trailing. He finds it hard to lift the spirits of his subordinates when they are feeling low during games – a duty Ronaldo carries out to perfection.
Lionel Messi isn’t a born leader like Cristiano. He doesn’t even need to prove himself as a great general in order to be counted amongst the best in the sport.
However, if he desires to cement a place in the hearts of his countrymen by winning an international title, he needs to leave his introvert persona behind, follow his nemesis to inculcate his leadership abilities, and moreover find the drive to churn out the required results.
Winners make their own luck. That seems impressive, but only as a quote. Realities present a far too different scenario, and whether we like it or not, humans must ultimately bow to their respective fates.
Lionel Messi has already guided Argentina to 4 finals and won none. But does it imply that he isn’t the best of his generation or even the GOAT? a big fat NO.
The number 10 has been eluded by international accolades for almost a decade now. No matter how hard he tries and pushes himself beyond his boundaries, if fate doesn’t permit it, he might have to retire with an empty international trophy cabinet.
He has done every bit of hard work and shed every drop of sweat to win a title with Argentina, but unless he’s destined to, he won’t be laying his hands on an international accolade any time soon.