Lionel Messi News: Former Argentina boss explains Messi's Argentina struggles
What's the story?
Argentine football manager Jorge Sampaoli managed the national side from 2017 to 2018, overseeing the Albiceleste's underwhelming 2018 World Cup performance. As reported by the Mirror, the current Santos FC manager blamed unfair expectations and harsh criticism from Argentine society as key reasons for Messi's underwhelming performances in the Argentina jersey
In case you didn't know...
Lionel Messi and Barcelona are having a terrific season and are one victory away from lifting yet another La Liga title. Having steamrolled Manchester United 4-0 over two legs to reach the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. Ernesto Valverde's all-conquering side look well on course for a historic 'treble treble', having also reached the finals of the Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup) where they will face Valencia CF.
Messi has been in imperious form for the Blaugrana, having recorded an astonishing 45 goals and 16 assists across all competitions. He is leading the La Liga, UEFA Champions League and European Golden Shoe scoring charts.
The Argentine National Team under Messi has however flattered to deceive on more than one occasion, despite boasting talents like Angel di Maria, Ever Banega, Sergio Aguero, Mauro Icardi and Paolo Dybala.
The heart of the matter
Jorge Sampaoli, who led Chile to their maiden Copa America title in 2015, added a new element to why Messi underperforms for Argentina. The tactician was speaking at the 'We Are Football 2019 - Coaches and Tactics' conference organised by the Brazilian Football Confederation.
“I coached the best player in the world, I don’t [know] if he’s the best in history, because he now has more than 600 goals in Europe, he’s broken all the records, but he arrives in his country and he’s criticised."
Sampaoli heaped praise on the mercurial Messiah and pointed out that the Argentine talisman often comes under immense pressure to perform and harsh criticism for even the smallest of failures, which deeply affects his game.
“Beyond his ability, he’s a human being, Argentinians struggle to enjoy Messi as Barcelona fans enjoy him. The boy suffers a lot, from what I’ve gone through, he suffers that reality a lot. He cannot show the world all that he is when plays for Argentina. (Argentine) society enjoys destroying things much more than it enjoys success.”
He also remarked that the fact that most of the star players are playing in Europe definitely affects the levels of communication and access that South American National team coaches have with respect to their European counterparts
"Being the coach of a South American national team is almost impossible because the best players in our teams are in Europe and we cannot speak to them for the necessary amount of time.We only have them for very little time to instil the values that we want and our playing philosophy.”
Barcelona can secure the La Liga title with a win over Levante, which will be played at 12:15 am IST on Sunday.