Millennium Post

No middle ground for Lionel Messi: Last chance to win a World Cup

The controversies surrounding Messi’s international career are endless. But for fans, he will always be the one who has not won the World Cup.

There is a stencil graffiti of Diego Maradona on a small wall in the residential streets of La Boca of Buenos Aires and every time someone passes that wall, they look and all they see is just how glorious 1986 was. The year was when Mike Tyson became the youngest Heavyweight champion, people were still listening to The Clash and chunky jewelry was in fashion but 1986 was also the year when Argentina won their second FIFA World Cup as they fought off the English side in the semi finals, scoring the most famous goal in the history of football- Maradona's Hand of God and then they subsequently beat West Germany to clinch the world title.
In the last two decades, Argentina has found themselves in the finals before but has never successfully turned that opportunity into something viable. Simply, they have not won a world cup title despite having the best player in the world- Lionel Messi in their corner and the likes of Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria, Paulo Dybala and many more. It certainly comes as a surprise to think that with a squad so lethal, Argentina has failed to make an impact at a global level in almost 2 decades. Argentina's campaign for the qualification for the 2018 World Cup has been tough to say the least with them losing to Bolivia and drawing a game with Venezuela. Many fans in Argentina and in fact, globally are wondering whether or not they will ever get to witness Lionel Messi lift a World Cup trophy. The controversies surrounding Messi's international career are endless. His latest stint of retiring from international duty due to the pressures put on him by the football association in Argentina gained considerable media attention and soon faded as he is still the captain of Los Gauchos.
For Argentina though, football is what cricket means to India. It's a religion, a cult. So in a country where the sport is worshipped, funnily enough Lionel Messi, the best player in the world has not gained the divine status or the approval. For the fans, he will always be the one who has not won the World Cup. He will always be the inferior bet to the great Maradona with some fans calling the whole ordeal a 'national tragedy'.
There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that Lionel Messi is the best player in the world at the moment, his ability t o create chances out of thin air and then to convert them as though it's as easy as cooking a 2-minute cuppa noodles is well known to the world but what puts all of this at risk is that these abilities somehow go out of the window on an international level. Maybe it's the pressure of standing up to everyone's enormous expectations but whatever the problem; this is his last chance to fix it. Why? Lionel Messi's been quite vocal about the problems he's had with the AFA with even going on record to say that after the 2018 WC he might even consider retiring. In all fairness, he did score the hat-trick to ensure Argentina gets to play this summer and if they do, it is Messi's last chance to lead the team into eternal glory. It's either black or white, there is no gray for the greatest player in the world.
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