After missing both friendlies due to a hamstring problem and the defeat to Spain still vivid, Messi is under criticism once again.
Argentina’s former goalkeeper Hugo Gatti has criticized Messi for not playing his part in the team, more notably in the 6-1 defeat to Spain. He further claims that Messi’s rival, Cristiano Ronaldo would have played both the games had he been in Messi’s position.
In an interview with El Chiringuito TV, Gatti said, “Messi had to have played. Cristiano would have done it.” While watching the game against Spain from the stands, Messi was seen leaving the game early as Argentina lost the game 6-1. An Isco-inspired performance by Spain proved to be too good for a team which is heavily dependent on the Barcelona superstar.
With the demand for a major international trophy with the national team, also comes increasing criticism for the players when things do not go according to plan for Argentina. And no one faces this criticism more than Lionel Messi.
The Barcelona forward has been instrumental during the qualification rounds, scoring a hat-trick against Ecuador to secure them a place in the World cup finals in Russia. And that has been the story for Argentina for most of their matches.
In the qualifications, Argentina won 5 out of 6 games with Messi and only 1 out of 7 games without him. The team continues to rely on their captain who’s absence is always met with heavy criticism for both the team and the player.
However, Gatti hopes that the team is able to play without their talisman once they head to Russia. Gatti added: “I do not think Messi is the one who makes the team, I do not believe in those things.”
Argentina will continue to rely on Messi’s ability to perform once they head to Russia. The possibility of the team being able to cope without him continues to fade. Major players like Paulo Dybala, Sergio Aguero, and Angel DiMaria are consistently unable to find club form with their national team. If Argentina hopes to reach another major final, they will have to find a way to be less dependent on their star man. Otherwise, it will be a nerve-wracking World Cup in Russia for Argentina supporters all over the world.