Messi, the Man with a Curse
On the club level, Lionel Messi is revered as a God amongst men. But on the international stage, the style, the passion, and the presence are simply not there. While Argentinian fans can continue to use him as a scapegoat for their twenty plus years of silverware drought, what they do not realize is that they are about to lose one of the greatest gems known in football history.
After a painful defeat against Chile in the finals of the Copa America Centenario, Lionel Messi had stated that he would retire from international football. He states: “For me, the national team is over. I’ve done all I can. It hurts not to be a champion. It’s been four finals, I tried. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get, so I think it’s over.” The disgruntled number ten continues by saying, “ I think this is the best for everyone. First of all for me, then for everyone. I think there is a lot of people who want this, who obviously are not satisfied, as we are not satisfied reaching a final and not winning it. It is very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back.”
As difficult as it is to hear those words from the genius himself, we have to, of course, set realistic expectations for the results of the Copa America. For Chile, they put on a brilliant performance for both Argentina and the fans. The once overshadowed small market team ten years ago has now established themselves with strong physical play and impeccable precise teamwork. To put it simply, their brute style allowed them to beat Argentina into submission. But as much as we can discuss the obstacle that is Chile, we have to discuss the overarching standards that is Argentina.
For Messi, nothing would make him happier than to bring his country pride and joy. But with second place for three Copa America finals and one World Cup final, you have to think that this lust and lure for international glory is just simply too much to ask from one man. With such an illustrious career, you would think his talents could spark the necessary fire for Argentina to end their trophy drought. But with an entire country on your shoulders, it seems like the international stage is more of a curse than an honor. And to top it off, the criticism and cruelty he had to endure as captain of Argentina has only dichotomized the charisma and genius that we see at Barcelona to the pain and failure as the Argentinian captain.
In my personal opinion, we are in the midst of a tragic hero story. In Messi’s mind, fairytale ends are what they seem, pure fiction. In order to change the fate of Argentina, the nation, as a whole, needs to support their warriors than ridicule them. They need to veer away from the Maradona shadow and accept the situation as it is. If they do not, the troubles and pains for Argentina’s failure will continue until the ‘next Maradona’ can come and save them. But with the World Cup coming up, this change needs to happen fast. Various rumors have already sparked where seven to eight Argentinian stars have already contemplated to following Messi and retire from the international level. If this were to happen, the once feared, the once great Argentina will be nothing but a mere whisper in the world of football.