Argentina without Lionel Messi – A Winning Combination? For a long time, Leo Messi has been Argentinian national side’s sole hope at the international level. After Maradona, if Argentina ever had a talisman, it would be Messi. The boy wonder had the entire European Club Football at his feet, and many expected something similar at the international level. Things, however, did not turn out according to expectations. Tournament after tournament, Leo came up short. The greatness that many expected from him just did not materialize. Sure, there were many games that he won for the country, but cup glory was elusive.
A Matter of Perspectives
It lead to questions; was Messi giving in less than his 100%? Was he too tired from Europe? Is his team too weak to support him? The questions brought in many perspectives, and people began to think that perhaps it was the lack of talent in the rest of the Argentinian squad that trophies haven’t been won. Now, it is a different discussion altogether as to how much blame lies on Messi, but one perspective that has not been explored is where Argentina would be without Messi. Of course, many would instantly say Argentina will be nothing without Messi – but is that true?
The truth is that Argentina has many decent players in its squad which are capable of performing just as well without Messi as they can with him present in the team.
Too Much for the Talisman?
With Messi playing, it is almost a psychological effect on the players who all look towards the prodigal striker to stir up some magic and win the games. Indeed, it has been noted that in games where Argentina are behind, suddenly almost all balls are directed towards Leo and the team’s dependence upon him increases more. It seems as if the Messi philosophy has been drummed so much into the Argentinian team philosophy that it is keeping players from giving in their 100%, always relying on Messi.
Where is the Creativity?
Argentina does not have too many creative midfielders, and that is the truth – nobody can deny it. It becomes an even bigger problem when you are playing with a superhuman like Messi. In every single game, Messi is heavily marked and opponent defense usually clogs the midfield to cut down space. Without a creative play maker with great insight, Argentina are unable to fight out of this clogged mess which results in poor performances. The same happens at the club level, but Barca has players like Neymar and Suarez and used to have players like Xavi and Fabregas, all of who are brilliant at envisioning runs and creating chances.
Messi – the Center of the Universe?
With Messi on the pitch, everything revolves around him, whether it is tactics or player positioning. This may result in weaknesses of tactics, where compromises may be made to accommodate the national hero. Such a situation is very unfortunate, and it is not really the player’s or management’s fault but just that there is a pressure, which eventually can have negative effects on the team performance.
This is not to say that Argentina should drop Messi, but maybe it is high time for the South American nation to reduce their dependence on Leo.