Is Lionel Messi losing it?
The charismatic Argentinean first head-butted his Roma opponent, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, and then grabbed him by the throat. Barcelona won 3-0
The usually cool-as-cucumber Messi has been red-carded just once in his international career—on his debut.
The Barca player escaped with a warning from the referee this time.
What is going on?
The Argentinean wasn’t exactly pleased with his performances during the Copa America where his team came close to winning the title only to lose to hosts Chile in the final.
This is the second time Messi has missed out on much-coveted silverware while representing his country. The first was the 2014 World Cup when Argentina drew a blank against Germany in the title round.
The reaction in the Argentine press has not been complimentary with questions about his greatness as a player and commitment to the national squad surfacing.
This despite the diminutive genius being adjudged the best player in both tournaments. There is no doubt that Messi is the best player on the planet.
Is he meeting his own exalted standards and expectations?
Diego Maradona was swift to launch a broadside at Messi’s feats in the South American tourney.
“It’s logical to fall, it is easy. We have the best player in the world, one who can go and score four goals on Real Sociedad and then he comes here and doesn’t score at all. You would say, but man, are you Argentine or Swedish? We need to stop busting on the folks who say that we should baby Messi. Messi needs to be treated just like we treat all the other players who put on the national team uniform. He is the best in the world, for better or worse. But look, he didn’t kill or rape anyone. Let’s not turn this into a soap opera.”
Messi’s grandfather, Antonio Cuccitini, was even more caustic.
“Some of him was there. Triumphs are the greatest things there are. But the last three games he was bad. He was lazy.”
More recently, the Human Rights Foundation criticized Messi for hobnobbing with abusers of children’s rights.
Messi laid the foundation stone for a venue for the Africa Cup of Nations 2017 together with Gabon dictator Ali Bongo.
France Football claimed that he was paid 2.4 million GBP to make the trip.
Human Rights Foundation President Thor Halvorssen said:
“In providing PR services to Gabon’s Bongo family, Lionel Messi has seriously undermined the credibility of his own charitable foundation. Whereas Messi claims to support children’s rights, and even serves as a UNICEF ambassador to promote youth education, he has endorsed a kleptocratic regime that refuses to investigate the ritual murder of children in Gabon.Messi’s trip is part of the Bongo family’s PR campaign to promote the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, which Gabon will host at enormous expense despite the fact that the Bongo family’s embezzlement has left 20 per cent of the population to live on less than $2 per day.”
Is it all adding to the pressure on the AlbiCeleste forward?
Or is this latest incident merely an aberration, a blot on a stellar record?
Still waters run deep.
Are we witnessing a rebirth of Messi as a firebrand on the field?
The speculation continues.