Published on May 12, 2019
The Lionel Messi of Barcelona is not the same as the Lionel Messi of Argentina. While the former has bathed in glory, the latter has faltered time and again at the ultimate stage. So can one international tournament be the undoing of Messi yet again?
After eight long years, Argentina reached the final of Copa America in 2015. Messi and Co had found it difficult to go past the group and the quarter-final stage. However, a huge win in the semifinals set them up nicely for the ultimate clash against Chile. Much to their surprise, their South American rivals beat them to the trophy via penalties to win the competition for the first time in their history.
One year later, the exact scenario repeated itself, with La Albiceleste going down to the same opponents in the same manner. Messi missed the first kick of the shootout to further pile on the misery. The two failed Copa America bids, along with a failed World Cup bid in 2014 put Lionel Messi under immense international scrutiny, so much so, that he decided to retire from his national team.
Nevertheless, he has returned to his international duties since and has suffered yet another World Cup heartbreak. Add to that another Copa America failure next month and we might see his grip from the Ballon d’Or loosen.