New Delhi: Argentina has lost in the finals, again. It was a shock all too familiar as Argentinean fans embraced each other and shared few words to console each other. Lionel Messi is still there; he is a one of the greatest players in the world, and sooner or later, he will row Argentina towards the shore of victory.
After losing the Copa America title to Chile on Monday, the winds of change came, Lionel Messi announced that he was going to retire from the international football scenario and make himself scarce for his national team. Many were appalled by this decision, and many secretly believed that the 'God of the runner-up' and the 'curse for Argentina' finally took a good decision, despite his skills.
But has Lionel Messi really proved himself as a boon for Argentina, or has it been the other way for the team who saw the name of Argentina etched on the World Cup almost four decades ago in 1978?
Lionel Messi — the Good
Whether he misses the penalty or not in a crucial game, it is undeniable that Lionel Messi is one of the best players in modern football history. Many football legends have heralded the dawn of the Lionel Messi phenomenon, and many aspiring footballers have a reverential connection with him. His ability to swerve between waves of defenders and his gazelle-like agility with the ball makes him not only the swiftest footballer in the world, but also the most dangerous striker for any defender imaginable. So, the Argentinean team scuttling around him, anticipating his next pass like a stockbroker, have all the right to believe that they might be blessed.
Lionel Messi — the Bad
Penalty miss: that should be enough a reason of its own to discredit the player of all his performance till now. His proven abilities are preternatural, but the anxiety, pressure, nerves Lionel Messi deals with in a big game is all natural. He missed the first penalty in the 2016 Copa America finals against Chile, and missed a penalty before at the 2015 Copa America finals against the same team. He has a poor record of goals scored through penalty, and this might point at the Achilles Heels of the Barcelona player.
Lionel Messi — the Ugly
The first step in becoming a businessman is to look like a businessman. Though Lionel Messi usually lets his game do the talking for him, he has been criticised many a times for his utter lack of emotions that makes a footballer the most interesting spectacle on the ground. Argentinean star akin to Lionel Messi and coach of Argentina Diego Maradona, while talking about Lionel Messi to Pele, said that the player was a really good person, "but lacked personality". Maradona, who is known throughout Argentina for his ferocious celebrations, exclaimed that Lionel Messi lacked the character that makes one a leader. And he was not entirely wrong when Argentina played against Germany in the last World Cup — Messi displayed what can be termed an emotion-less expression, staring at the pit of green grass without revealing even a speckle of what went through his mind.
Lionel Messi's announcement that he is retiring from international football is an unnerving statement for the Argentinean national team who have till now relied heavily upon the Lionel Messi phenomenon. But with the absence of this great player, Argentina just might pull through and initiate a struggle once again with a team that doesn't only revolve around a player, but keeps the balance of a dream team poised for collective excellence.