Will Lionel Messi Be Able To End Argentina's Trophy Drought and Vindicate Himself in the process?
Lionel Messi is one of the most decorated footballers the beautiful game has ever seen step on the pitch.
He has won every trophy there is to win at club level with Barcelona since joining the Catalan giants in 2001, but an international trophy with Argentina has eluded the little genius until now.
His only accolades with La Albiceleste are a 2005 U-20 World Cup triumph and an Olympic gold medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
The Argentina captain is 33 years old now and the Copa America 2021 and the World Cup in Qatar next year look like the only realistic chances of winning a trophy with his national team.
With a race against time on the Barcelona captain’s hands, FootTheBall analyses his chances of winning an international trophy and silencing his critics once and for all.
ARGENTINA HELD TO A DRAW BY CHILE
Messi has always carried the burden of an entire nation on his shoulders whenever he steps on the pitch for Argentina.
Critics and detractors always point to the fact that the Argentine wizard has never won a trophy with the senior Argentina national football team throughout his career.
La Albiceleste were held to a draw by Chile even though the Argentines took the lead in the 33rd minute when Messi scored a sublime free-kick to give Argentina the lead.
⚽¡NO SE SACARON VENTAJAS EN RÍO DE JANEIRO!
— Copa América (@CopaAmerica) June 14, 2021
But the Chileans came back in the second half after Eduardo Vargas nodded home Arturo Vidal’s missed penalty from close range early on in the second half.
This, once again raised the question of Argentina being capable of winning an international tournament – a feat no Argentine contingent has been able to achieve since 1993. And Messi will be the victim of such discussions as the mantle, more often than not, falls on the 33-year old whenever Argentina underperforms.
WILL MESSI WIN AN INTERNATIONAL TROPHY SOON?
Time is against the Argentine maestro as he has only two international tournaments left to play in and he is playing in one of them as this article is being written.
Argentina and Messi have come close to victory at both the FIFA World Cup and Copas America, but have always been found wanting in some respect. They were in the 2014 World Cup final (held in Brazil too), the 2015 Copa America final and the 2016 Copa America Centenario final, but finished as runners-up in all three tournaments.
In the 2018 World Cup, they were ousted by eventual winners France in the Round of 16 as Kylian Mbappe stole the headlines and in the 2019 Copa America Argentina finished in third place after losing to Brazil in the semi-finals.
And this time out also Argentina don’t look like the force they once were, with the squad looking disjointed and out of sorts largely with the game against Uruguay looming in front of them in the group stage.
As such, it begs one question – will Messi be able to end his international trophy duck? Will he be able to succeed with La Albiceleste? And will the critics targeting him be silenced once and for all?