Is Diego Maradona the reason behind the Argentina-Lionel Messi break-up?
Lionel Messi has quit international football. To say that he retired is toning down the realistic value of his decision. He has quit the national team, with many more to follow if reports are to be believed. His reaction showed how much it meant to him and how much he has loved his country through the years.
Now while his decision is being judged as nothing more than an impulsive one, we must look at the real reasons of what made him quit.
Argentina and Lionel Messi have been in a relationship since 2005, when he came into the class of rather uninspiring footballers and a more ruthless bunch and the world took notice due to his sheer genius and mature performances that never seemed to stop….for Barcelona.
It was a clear case of Argentina feeling jealous as their beloved spent more time with Barcelona and did better for them. The jealousy grew over the years with Messi amassing trophy after trophy with Barcelona and giving below-par performances for his national team.
The tensions grew over time but Messi kept the relationship intact with moments of brilliance and a hope that someday it was bound to happen that Messi along with his fellow band of technically gifted players, will win them a major international trophy. But as all relationships go, the constant fights and arguments take a strain on both parties. While this was happening, AFA – Argentina Football Association was going into turmoil.
Now without a president, AFA was like the troubled dad leading to his child’s poor relationships with others. Messi didn’t take lightly to this. A recent incident comes to mind when the Argentinian Football Team was left stranded at the airport due to a flight delay after Argentina had defeated USA 4-0 in the semi-final and Messi’s rather not so good relationship with Tata Martino continued from their days together at Barcelona.
Enter The Ex-Boyfriend – Diego Maradona
It is no secret that both Pele and Maradona are prima donnas nowadays when it comes to regarding themselves as the best of their generation. Well, can you blame them? Their record speaks for itself. Maradona has usually been on Messi’s side until the World Cup final loss to Germany in 2014.
Since then, slowly but surely Maradona has been cuddling and snuggling with his ex; Argentina. He has made more public appearances since then and has spoken against Messi. Very recently he spoke about Messi’s lack of personality and leadership to lead Argentina to international glory.
This sparked a debate worldwide and especially in Argentina. People jumped the gun with various articles and other famous football personalities started debating and analysing what Maradona actually meant. After that, he followed up with comments about the Copa America final.
"Of course I think we'll win," Maradona told C5N.
"But if you don't win, don't come back."
Now with a final coming up, one wouldn’t want to hear such things from a legend of the game. While we think professional footballers are above all this, they are not. Not even the extraterrestrial being Lionel Messi is above that and his decision is a proof of that.
Maradona who is supposed to be motivating his team to a win but rather he made statements that may have been detrimental to his team’s morale and may have led to their eventual loss, partly.
It is the perfect analogy. Girl (Argentina) meets Boy (Messi). Girl and Boy share a lot of dreams. After years of a relationship, they both want more and end up fighting and arguing. Along comes the ex-boyfriend (Maradona) and adds fuel to the fire. After 2-3 big fights (final losses and the following abuse), Boy decides to part ways for both their good.
Another good analogy would be the Pakistan cricket team. A good team with good players over the years, but constant immeasurable pressure and over-shadowed by a more glorious history of a neighbour takes its toll on the players. They choke. They lose.
Their association like PCB – Pakistan Cricket Board – is usually under turmoil and undermined by politics. The pressure and abuse from the fans and the country add to the mental frailty of the players. The constant ‘almost’ wins and feeling of being the second best breaks the team down. Something happening with Argentina at the moment.
Who is the ultimate winner here?
The answer is no one if you are an Argentine fan or Messi fan. In the end, the country Argentina and the AFA as an association have lost. Messi has lost his way as a leader of the pack and his scared pack is ready to follow him to retirement.
Argentina’s golden generation is going to end up trophy-less on the international stage and their golden-boy and probably the greatest footballer of all time is gone. Doesn’t matter if he has tarnished his legacy or not. The real loser here is Argentina and Football.
All we can do is hope that over time, Messi and AFA can sort out their differences and he can come back and maybe lead them to glory in the 2018 World Cup. After Zidane almost did that in 2006 with France.