Argentina’s poor performance at the 2018 World Cup in Russia hit Lionel Messi hard. Jorge Sampaoli and his team were total chaos, and as a rule, the coach and the biggest star “take the towel”.
The Albiceleste qualified for the finals thanks to Leo’s hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Ecuador in the final qualifying match. He also scored a superb first goal in the pursuit of the must-win win over Nigeria in the group stage that secured a place in the last 16.
Still, Messi has endured considerable criticism. Not that he isn’t used to hearing them about his performance in the national team, but this time it was more painful than usual, as his idol and former mentor Diego Maradona joined in the chorus.
“We shouldn’t deify Leo any more,” said the legend. “He’s Messi when he plays for Barcelona, and he’s another Messi in Argentina. It’s clear that Leo is a great player, but he’s no leader. It’s useless to try.” to make a leader out of a guy who goes to the bathroom 20 times before a game.”
Well, if Don Diego could see him now…
Messi admitted that it is strange that his idol is not in Qatar. Because even when he criticized and complained, Maradona remained a passionate admirer of the national team and cherished its successes.
And how would he be happy to see what is happening now?
With those Argentinian hordes taking over entire stadiums and singing non-stop throughout the match. And with those fighters on the field who may not have the class of the greatest of previous generations of Gauchos, but they are a cohesive team and have the same big Argentine hearts. And last but not least – they have their undisputed leader!
At the end of his career, and probably in his last attack on the world title, Leo Messi has changed a lot.
Let go of his uncharacteristic stupidity in front of the cameras after the Netherlands’ elimination. Perching is not leadership. Let’s focus on the important things. Like the way Messi stood behind Lautaro Martínez, who made several misses, which could have decided everything in favor of the “gauchos” long before the penalties.
Leo going to the bathroom 20 times would sulk and do one of those silent skits of his that we know. But the current leader supported his team-mate and inspired him that his best at the World Cup is yet to come.
And did you notice what happened after Lautaro’s last penalty, which sealed the victory over the “tulips”? Everyone rushed after the Inter ace, and Messi headed towards goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, who was lying with his arms outstretched on the opposite side of the pitch.
The love that Lionel Messi has for Emi Martinez 🥰 pic.twitter.com/oNA32aTa5E
— GOAL (@goal) December 12, 2022
The Aston Villa guard saved two penalties and contributed a lot to the semi-finals, and the relationship between him and Leo is more special.
We go back a year and a half to recall how the true rise of the “albiseleste” began.
Of course we are talking about the Copa America triumph against Brazil in the lair of the soccer beast Maracana.
During his rousing speech before the final, Leo completely changed the public perception that he was no leader.
“I want to thank all of you for the past 45 days, guys,” Messi told his teammates in the Maracana dressing room. in which no one complained about the trips, the food, the hotels, the grounds… Nothing! 45 days without seeing our families. 45 days in which El Dibu (Emilio Martinez) became a father and didn’t even get to see his newborn kid.
And why? Because of this moment guys. We had a goal and we are one step away from achieving it, and the best thing is that everything is in our hands. So we go out and then we lift the trophy and take it home to Argentina to enjoy it with our families, friends and everyone who supported us. I want to end like this: There are no random things. This tournament was supposed to be played in Brazil and do you know why? Because God made it here for us to win it at the Maracana. So let’s take to the field with confidence and cool heads. Let’s win this trophy. Go, boys!”
Is it any wonder, then, that goalkeeper Martinez admitted after the Finalsima win over Italy at Wembley that Argentina’s players were “fighting like lions for Leo”?
And what is now clear to everyone is that Messi is also ready to fight for them to the last drop of blood and sweat after many years in which many did not think so. After all, the genius had spent most of his life at Barcelona and his irresistible play for the Catalans contrasted with that for the national team, infuriating his countrymen.
However, that is in the past.
Today, the goal of Lionel Messi is only one – to turn the admiration of Argentines for him into adoration, like that for Diego Maradona. It is clear that the mountain is high, but its ascent is measured in two victories – on December 13 and another five days later. You remember, right?