Despite harsh criticism about his performance for Argentina’s national team, Lionel Messi says he will continue to play for Argentina. At the international level, Messi has not enjoyed nearly as much success as he had with Barcelona. In the ongoing Copa America, his sub-par performance lost them the first two group matches before finally beating Costa Rica. This wasn’t just a few bad games that he played through. At the World Cup, we also saw Messi unable to score for the entire tournament.
To many Argentinians, this was unacceptable for the star forward from Barcelona to perform so badly. Considering how Messi won the FIFA World Player of the Year and the FIFA Ballon d’Or in consecutive years, considering how he’s scored 119 goals in 177 games with Barcelona and only 17 goals in 59 games with Argentina, maybe he’s deserving of this criticism.
Then again, maybe not. It’s really not fair to be comparing his play with the two teams. Barcelona is more than just a solid team. As they’ve shown, they’re probably the best in the world. With their recent win in the Champion’s League over Manchester United (3-1), Barcelona has cemented their position as the dominating football club. In that tournament, Messi also scored 12 goals in 13 games, an unbelievable feat.
With everything Messi has been able to do with Barcelona, you can’t just think that Argentina’s failure is because of him. Clearly the fault should lie on the rest of the Argentinian team, too. When you get down to it, Argentina just isn’t as good as Barcelona and isn’t that good in general. They have poor chemistry and the whole team is basically their strong forwards, Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez, and striker Gonzalo Higuain.
If your team only has strong forwards, how can you expect to score? Without a midfield, they’re not even going to get the ball or get a decent shot. On FC Barcelona, Messi has a world-class supporting midfield in Xavi and Andres Iniesta. Xavi and Iniesta set up Messi to make goal-scoring situations. Messi may have the ability to be the best in the world, but his midfield is what lets him play at his best.
And if that’s not enough for you, just consider this. Messi was born in Argentina but left to go to Barcelona by the time he was 11 years old. Despite growing up in Spain and receiving an invitation to play for Spain’s national team, a guaranteed winner, Messi still chose to go back to his roots and play for Argentina. This alone should say enough.
So really, stop criticizing him for his play or get him a better team, Argentina.