If you’re reading this, you probably know what happened with Messi after Copa America Centenario was all said and done, if not, I’ll give you a reminder.
Messi announced his retirement from international soccer and will no longer play for his home country – Argentina.
“It’s difficult. This time is hard. In the locker room, I thought it was over for me and the national team. The team is not for me.
“It’s what I feel now, a great sadness that this happened again, that I missed the penalty kick. It was very important. (Leaving the national team) is for the good of all. I’m not satisfied with reaching the final and not winning it.”
“I tried hard to be a champion with Argentina. It didn’t happen. I couldn’t get it done.”
Even though Messi has lost four straight finals with Argentina (2007 Copa America, 2014 World Cup, 2015 and 2016 Copa America), he’s still, arguably, the best player today in soccer. Unless you’re a big soccer fan who probably knows his stats and what his accomplishments are, go look them up for yourself and see how good of a player he is at Barcelona.
Aside from what he has done at Barcelona, Messi still needs to win a major tournament with his country whether it’s a World Cup or Copa America, but that hasn’t been the easiest task for him. As captain of his national team, the pressure has been on him from fans whether they’re from Argentina or just someone who enjoys following his career to win Argentina’s first major tournament since the 1993 Copa America.
Obviously, he can’t do that now with his announced retirement, but I’m going to explain why he really left and if he’ll be back in time for the next major tournament – 2018 World Cup or 2019 Copa America.
The Argentina Federation has had problems over the last few years and just last week, president Luis Segura was charged with fraud with an ongoing investigation related to TV broadcasting rights. FIFA is currently in control of them and they might even suspend all of the country’s national teams indefinitely. Messi also spoke about their issues, but later said it was a mistake because he should be focused along with his team for their final with Chile.
It’s still unknown what will happen at this time to the Argentina federation, but for right now Messi doesn’t want to be a part of the mess (see what I did there) currently going on and it’s understandable. I think he let his emotions get the best of him after the game and just needs a mental break after losing three straight finals (four, when you count the 2007 Copa America, even though he wasn’t the star player or captain then). Pending the suspension of Argentina and if they’ll be eligible to play in the 2018 World Cup and/or 2019 Copa America, I think we’ll see him playing international soccer again in the future. He’s still a phenemonal player and fun to watch on the field. If you ask me, he should maybe apply for citizenship in Spain and play for their national team if the Argentina federation doesn’t have their mess cleaned in the next two years. He’s lived there since he was 13 due to a health condition and the fans love him in Barcelona. As for the Argentina fans, if they understand what is going on with the federation, they wouldn’t be mad at him should he choose to go that route. But I’m just speaking hypothetically and it would probably never happen because he loves Argentina and wants to bring something home for the fans.
For now, just enjoy Messi continue his career with Barcelona. I know I will. It’s like I told myself while watching LeBron James win an NBA Championship for the Cavaliers a few weeks ago: “I’m witnessing greatness and I should just enjoy it while it lasts.” Stop trying to compare him to Pelé or Maradona because his career isn’t even done yet. Stop putting so much pressure on him and just let him play. Much like LeBron winning his first championship in Miami, it will come naturally when you least expect it. Don’t lose sight of Messi’s greatness before its too late because soon you’ll regret it when he retires for good.