Argentina survived a major scare and have finally qualified for the round 16 matches. It was some Messi Magic and a late goal from Rojo that helped Argentina lived to see another day.
The whole world was celebrating Messi’s 31st birthday and the man himself was seen chilling during the training session. However, the GOAT( title given by his fans) was under tremendous pressure to break his World Cup jinx and saved Argentina from the brink of an early exit.
In both the matches with Iceland and Croatia, I couldn’t find Messi at all barring a mere view here and there. It was like watching Amitabh Bachchan in The Great Gatsby or Anil Kapoor’s role in Mission Impossible.
Whenever I think of five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi, and his La Liga title win, Wasim Jaffer is the next man in my thought process. Wasim Jaffer is currently the highest run-scorer in Ranji Trophy and holds numerous other records. However, for the national side, Wasim had an average record.
I am treading on a dangerous path here, comparing Messi with Wasim Jaffer. A lot of critics comments will come (even my cousins idolizes Messi). Come to think of it, even West Indian and their local league players have won the T20 World Cup.
The main issue behind Messi’s ineffectiveness at world stage is his club Barcelona. Messi is stuck with Barcelona’s style of Tiki Taka as he is a home product of Barcelona and has played there with the likes of Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta, and David Villa, who took the Spanish team to World Cup Glory in 2010.
For the national side, it’s a different story altogether. Messi generally cuts a sorry figure while playing the matches because of his inability to adapt to the Argentinian playing environment. Even Though, no one can take the credit from Argentina’s record goalscorer of taking the team to previous World Cup final and also helping the team in qualifying for the present World Cup.
With the likes of Sergio Aguero, Dybala, Di Maria, no one can consider the Argentina team to be lacking Goal Scorers and these players are also to be blamed equally to Argentina’s poor form.
Another reason behind Messi’s poor form on the national stage is him being the successor of Diego Maradona, the World Cup winner and famous for his Hand of God(Cheater). Though, how good it would have been if Maradona would have been caught cheating and penalized during the match. It would have been a different story altogether and we may have seen Messi performing and dazzling with his tricks without any Maradona mess.
A good player is someone whom you can put with any team and he will produce a match-winning performance. Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo(Brazil), and Ronaldinho are such great examples. Whether, they are playing for their country, or any club, you can always expect a match-winning performance from them.
This is why, Lionel Messi is not a GOAT, at least for me. He simply belongs to the class of club greats who took their individual clubs to a great height. In my opinion, Arjen Robben is one great player who should be considered to be great instead of Messi and is one such player who deserved credit.
The World Cup has entered its crucial stage of Round 16. Let’s see if Messi can retain his club magic and see Argentina through the final.
(This article was updated on 27 June, 1:35 AM)