The unbelievable seemed quite real some days ago. Argentina was almost to miss out the next year’s World Cup.
The giants of South America will still be at the World cup only thanks to the remarkable play of the little virtuoso Lionel Messi who scored a hat-trick in a 3-1 victory over Ecuador on Tuesday. La Albicelestes were very close to record their first left out of the World Cup since 1970.
Showing up when most needed
One would ask why Lionel Messi wasn’t there for the entire campaign but despite the short international withdrawal he quickly returned. However, Argentina didn’t always demonstrate avant-grade play at times in qualification even with Messi in the team.
This is unexpected especially considering the high-class of Argentina’s attacking players. Yet they didn’t deliver recently until Tuesday night in Quioto when Messi starred and did what he is capable of best when it is most important.
One of the problems of the little man’s place among the all-time greatest list is his inability to perform and deliver well for Argentina as he does in the big games for Barcelona.
Messi receives new chance to win the World Cup
Even though Cristiano Ronaldo is outstanding athlete and player, Lionel Messi could be named the best footballer and the more technically talented one.
This is a matter of personal opinion though and the discussion is endless as everyone has different preferences.
Critics have accused the 30-year-old for never winning a big international trophy for Argentina unlike Ronaldo who won the crown for Portugal on the Euro 2016.
The same analogy goes with Diego Maradona and the great Pele from Brazil. It is obvious that Messi need to win an international championship to prove his place in the big league of players.
Perspectives and opinions on the matter vary and depend greatly on time and generations. In the older days Stanley Mattews and Dixie Dean were heroes, not so long ago the iconic Ronaldo and Ronaldinho were idols and nowadays we enjoy both Messi and Ronaldo’s great talents.
As the 2018 World Cup approached Lionel Messi seems motivated to grab his last chance to secure his team’s qualification.
Argentina needs to advance their play
After the winning match in Quito the Argentinian chief Jorge Sampaoli said that his team has to stop relying Messi to always save the game for them.
The good news is that the team is equipped with many talented players. World class team members like Angel Di Maria, Paulo Dybala, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain will all be present for the World Cup.
They need to demonstrate the same class as they do for their clubs, as for example the 23-year-old Dybala who still needs to find the net after ten games.
As good as Messi is, no game is a one-man show in the same way as Pele and Maradona probably received underappreciated support in the face of his teammates.
Argentina is one the favourites to lift the trophy at odds of 8/1 at the World Cup with only Germany, Brazil and Spain with shorter odds.
Despite the pleasing fact that Lionel Messi will be part of the World Cup 2018, his squad unfortunately just cannot hit it off together as a team and will give food to his critics for the rest of his career.
The question is: Is Lionel Messi able to inspire Argentina to win the World Cup trophy next year?