In the tunnel below the Metropolitan Life Stadium in New Jersey, it was not easy to find him through the crowd, but the TV lights helped him. However, his obvious anger should not be missed. Lionel Messi is one of the few greatest players who has blessed football. He has had enough.
For three consecutive years, he devoted a large part of his short summer to trying to win major international championships with his native Argentina, but every time he got as close as possible, but without success.
“The national team is over for me,” he told reporters. “That’s it.”
This was five years ago. However, on Monday night in Brazil, Messi broke Argentina’s record for his 148th appearance, defeating Bolivia 4-1 in the Copa America. The victory included two other goals by Messi, securing the first place in Group A and establishing Albiceleste in the quarter-finals against Ecuador’s FS1 and Univision at 9pm on Saturday night. He is seizing another opportunity to win an honor he failed to achieve in this sport, conquering a pursuit that has broken his heart on many occasions: the national team trophy.
“Sometimes when we see him playing for the Argentine team, there will be a burden on him. There is nothing to be overwhelmed, because he is Messi, but with this kind of continuous pressure and expectations. The moment the trophy is won,” Fox Sports chief studio analyst and member of the American Football Hall of Fame Alexi Lalas told Sports News. “Listen, no matter what happens, he will become one of the greatest players of all time. But I think he wants to check this box, but I think many of us who love him, respect and appreciate everything he does want He owns that moment.
“I’m not sure that this will happen, and I’m not sure that this will happen in this Copa America, but he is on his way again. I don’t know if it means more to him or it means more to us.”
Witnessing his pain on that Sunday night in Jersey five years ago, I can say that it is obviously more important to Messi.
Almost since joining in 2006, Messi has become a superstar of FC Barcelona, with 4 Champions League titles, 10 La Liga titles, Club World Cup titles and 7 Copa del Rey titles.
However, in his national team, he won many victories, but not in the biggest game. There was an Olympic gold medal in 2008, but the Olympic men’s football is not an advanced game for the national team. At the highest level, he has participated in four World Cups and five America’s Cups, including the 2016 Centennial Special Event held across the United States. Argentina lost to Chile in a penalty shoot-out for the second year in a row.
That game led Messi to announce that he had completed the international competition just two days after his 29th birthday. Since then, he has won 37 blocks.
“I think it says: I can’t give up on you,” said Lalas, who has been working on Fox’s America’s Cup coverage. “He grew up in this incubator and in this world cocoon in Barcelona, in the inevitable but continuous comparison and contrast with Diego Maradona… I think he has grown into a role and a responsibility. I see He likes it better.
“It’s a fascinating dynamic for one of the greatest players in the world to be able to do it with an Argentine team that is not outstanding but talented. Any team that Messi is in, he Will be the focus. However, they have not been able to put it all together. Now, in Brazil’s appearance, it will be a surprise-a wonderful surprise-but if Messi and his company can beat Brazil, That would be a surprise.”
The Brazil team won the first three group games with a total score of 9-1, and then mainly substitutes-including Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino, Fabinho and Allison. , But still ended in a 1-1 draw in a meaningless match against Ecuador.
As the COVID problem forced the game to move from Argentina, Brazil has the home court advantage. However, this may have brought greater pressure to win Brazil than Messi is currently under.
From the moment the 2014 World Cup semi-finals lost to Germany 7-1 at home, Brazil’s status as a world giant began to deteriorate. He then lost 2-1 to Belgium in the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup. The 2019 Copa America victory helped restore some respect, but no South American team has won the World Cup since 2002, and it will take more time to get global attention. The second consecutive championship at Copa will do this, and with players like Neymar, Casemiro and Danilo in the lineup, this might happen.
“For Brazil, anything that does not win will be considered a failure,” Lalas said. “Argentina lost to Brazil in Brazil at this time. Considering the differences and dynamics between the two teams, I don’t think anyone would think that this is Argentina’s failure. So yes, I think this gave Messi nothing. A lost opportunity. If we look back at history, Brazil lost a very, very important match in Maracana, and the final will be held there.”
Messi has scored 75 goals for Argentina, ranking 9th in the history of the Argentine team, and has scored a handful of goals in the top five. He has been named the Golden Globe winner six times and has become the best player in the world. Few players can achieve such great achievements both personally and collectively, but the loophole in his resume will remain until it disappears, or until Argentina is truly “done” for Messi.
Lalas paid close attention to Messi in this game and saw a fundamental change in his performance. Messi is going deep into the midfield to gain possession and help establish control of the game. Some people, including the great Argentine Hernan Crespo, think this is problematic.
“The way he backs up is almost reminiscent of quarterbacks when they fall into that pocket, they can see everything up front: I can go here, I can go here, I can go here-or I can run and attack It,” Lalas said. “I like it a bit. I think you kind of wasted his unique ability to dribble through players and quickly dribble and defend their heels when you bring him closer to the goal.
“So I like the way he evolved. Sometimes he forces things, he wants things to happen. If you want someone to forcefully solve this problem, your performance may be much worse than Messi.”