Is Lionel Messi ever going to win a major title as an Argentine?
Two Copa America finals, one World Cup final and yet the cupboard is bare.
He may be the finest player of his generation but his national team is not. At least, not yet.
Accompanied by the Galacticos of Barcelona, the magician with the ball is almost invincible.
He does not enjoy the same support alongside his fellow countrymen.
What are the reasons for this relatively poor show?
It is relative because for his showings at the above named tournaments, the young man captured two player and one young player of the tournament awards.
Hardly, what you’d term a no show.
Comparisons to Pele and Maradona will always fall short if the 28-year-old genius fails to capture a major international title.
It was, perhaps, easier for Pele. Club football did not take up most of the players’ time in those days.
Maradona , though , is another kettle of fish. He catapulted a small club side, Napoli, to two Serie A titles and another couple of runner-up finishes.
Argentina, of course, won the 1986 World Cup under him and made another stalwart run for the title in 1990 losing to Germany in the final.
Is Lionel Messi finished as a Argentine midfielder?
It would be a pity if it were so as media reports suggest.
Messi has his best chance to fill his trophy case at the 2018 World Cup in Russia—provided he keeps himself healthy and fit. He will be even more experienced and hopefully at the peak of his career.
The mind boggles—you mean to say Messi can get even better?
It helps even more if his teammates do.
A freely roaming Messi can do more damage than a Messi who is man-marked by not one, not two but three defenders.
What would Argentina not give to have strikers of the caliber of Neymar and Suarez alongside their talisman?
Unfortunately, national soccer is not club soccer and throwing money at a problem does not make it go away. The ethos of teamwork assumes salient importance.
Messi himself once said:
“I prefer to win titles with the team ahead of individual awards or scoring more goals than anyone else. I’m more worried about being a good person than being the best football player in the world. When all this is over, what are you left with? When I retire, I hope I am remembered for being a decent guy.“
Here’s what John Wooden has to say about teams:
Messi will not be great until his bench-mates make him great.