With over 785 senior career goals for club and country and the most goals by a player for a single club (672), Lionel Andrés Messi could be easily described as the greatest of all time (GOAT) in football history.
However, his success over the years seems to be overshadowing the efforts of his teammates, both in his club and country. During the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Messi seems to be getting too much attention to the detriment of his teammates and Argentina at large.
‘The GOAT’ was the status update of every Lionel Messi fan after their god of football scored against Australia, which is ranked 38th in the world in the latest FIFA rankings. It is surprising how disrespectful the football fan base can become. Messi’s goal would have had less meaning if Julian Alvarez had not scored the second goal since the game would have ended in a 1-1 draw. If the Argentine defenders did not defend well then they would have conceded more goals than the opponent and hence lost the match.
What is my point?
Football is a team sport. Messi did not win the match. Argentina won the match. Messi did not advance to the quarter-finals, Argentina did. How the fans always find a way to steal the success of a team with more than 20 people and credit it to one person is quite ridiculous.
On June 27, 2016, Messi missed a decisive penalty against Chile in the Copa America Final and subsequently announced that he had retired from international football. The reaction to this news can only be equated to news confirming that the world would end in two weeks’ time.
From legends to pundits to fellow footballers, all pleaded with him to reconsider his decision, which he finally did. How is it possible that a single individual can hold the entire nation at ransom? If I were an Argentine footballer, this would be the worst time to be part of the national team. The team is playing for Messi instead of Messi playing for the team. This brings unnecessary pressure to both the players and coaches. They are afraid of disappointing him. In summary, they are simply captives of Messi.
My unpopular opinion is Argentina will have their best chance of winning the world cup once Messi exits the stage. At that point, they will be able to have a team and not a one-man show. Other talented players will be free to express themselves and finally, the credit will be given to the team as it should have been done earlier.
Argentinian football needs to be freed from the Messi syndrome.
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