Argentina 1-3 Venezuela: 3 reasons why Argentina lost the match
Friday evening saw Argentina take part in their first international fixture of the calendar year as they traded tackles in an exhibition match with fellow South Americans Venezuela at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid.
Even more exciting was the fact that their skipper and talisman Lionel Messi was donning the colors of La Albiceleste for the first time in almost nine months since captaining the side to their disastrous showing at the World Cup in Russia last summer.
The 31-year-old's return sparked a lot of media frenzy, with lots of pre-match hype magnifying the occasion, with this supposedly a glorious homecoming for the Barcelona man before the country launches it's assault on the Copa America in June.
However, reality is more often than not very different from fantasies and the reality was that Argentina were offered a very rude awakening, squashing any delusions of grandeur as they fell to a 3-1 defeat to Venezuela. The difference in quality of the two teams as well as the return of Messi made the result a major shock.
In this piece, we shall be taking a look at three reasons why Argentina lost to Venezuela.
#3 Lionel Messi failed to provide the spark
Messi is easily the joint-best player of his generation by a long mile and undoubtedly one of the greatest of all-time, as his performance levels throughout his career have been extraordinary; almost bordering on superhuman.
On his day (which is pretty much every time), the 31-year-old possesses the ability to unlock any defense no matter how tight, with his stats and numbers backing this up.
Messi's extraterrestrial abilities makes it a no brainer that he finds himself the talisman of any team he plays for, providing the spark that ignites his teammates to greatness.
Generally, whenever Messi plays well, his teams succeed and vice versa, and this is best exemplified by Argentina's woes in international tourneys where he has largely failed to impress till date.
This brought itself to the fore once more against Venezuela, as Messi (fresh from his newly shaven face) was constantly forced to drop deep and try to seize the initiative and provide the creativity.
For 90 minutes he huffed and puffed in vain, which was to a larger degree indicative of Argentina's struggles throughout the match, while the few moments of brilliance were also created off him including Lautaro Martinez's goal.
Argentina are largely dependent on Messi to succeed, and nowhere was this more evident than in the friendly at the Wanda Metropolitano. With less than three months until the kickoff of the continental showpiece, Argentine fans would hope the Rosario-born magician would be back to his best by the time the Copa America kicks off.