Argentina skipper Lionel Messi on Saturday announced his retirement from the national team after Argentina were knocked out from FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia following their 2-4 defeat against France.
Messi, who would have been 34 by the time next World Cup comes around has already retired from international football once. Messi quit at the age of just 29 after Argentina’s Copa America final defeat by Chile in June 2016.
Messi, his World Cup legacy and Argentina`s over-reliance on the Barcelona forward have been Argentina’s biggest weak point throughout the tournament. It’s been 25 years since Argentina won anything. It’s been over 10 years with the world’s best player Messi has been in the team but the other star players has never clicked as a team.
Another problem Argentina have faced this World Cup – is that they are missing the real leader in the team. Messi has been seen as disjoint figure throughout the tournament. His body language looked stressed and unhappy at this World Cup was a real worry.
Then the reports of mutiny between the players and their coach Jorge Sampoli also worsened their cause and Argentine squad never gelled as a team. There were even reports that Messi was picking up the teams and making a suggestion to the coach of what to do.
Even though he’s helped Argentina reach three consecutive finals — at the 2014 World Cup and the Copa America in 2015 and 2016 — Messi has always been under intense scrutiny in his homeland for his performances with the national team.
He has been a superstar everytime he has worn Barcelona shirt but when it comes down to Argentina the expectations and comparison to Diego Maradona has always put him under immense pleasure and he has never been able to pass that test despite he being the main reason for Argentina of making it to the World Cups after some splendid performances in qualifications.