Lionel Messi will be back for Argentina and here’s why
Grief can be crushing at times, especially if it is related to something you covet the most. For people like Lionel Messi, who has won almost every accolade there is to win except with the national side, there are only a few things that they don’t have, but desire with great fervour.
And the World Cup and Copa America are some of those things.
So when he failed to win a major international trophy for the third time in three consecutive years, despite playing the final in all of them, it was too much for the Argentina captain to take and he announced his retirement from international football.
A decision borne out of the heat of the moment
Messi’s decision was the result of the heat of the moment; it was an impulsive reaction to a situation that oozed nothing but despair. This in itself is one of the reasons why he will reverse his decision and make a comeback.
Once the dust settles down and his mental shape gets back to normality, La Pulga will realise that he made a mistake with the retirement decision. And when the former Newell’s boy realises that, he will begin feeling the love he has for his nation’s football team once again, prompting him to make a comeback.
Still only 29
For one, Messi is only 29 years old and can operate at an optimum level for another 3 years at least. After that, his speed might wane, but given the fact that the Barcelona number 10 has incredible vision and ability to make fabulous passes—short and long—he would still be a world-class player for a further couple of years.
This means that he has 5 years more as a world-class footballer in the hypothetical sense. Lionel Messi knows this. The 29-year-old knows that he can still serve his country and win a major tournament in the next 5 years.
Within a calm head, these equations will form by itself. The Argentina captain is someone who has been known for his rational thinking—and making a comeback would be as rational a decision as it gets.
The next World Cup is in Russia in snowy conditions that is not suited to South American players, so it is highly unlikely that we will see a Latin team lift the trophy in 2018. This might be a demotivating factor, but it would be uncharacteristic and a cowardly move to not even try—something that we do not expect from the best player in the world.
And finally, the reactions. This is the biggest reason why Lionel Messi will be back. The moment he announced his retirement, millions of fans flocked to social media with posts that depicted nothing but sorrow.
Some were in pain, some in tears. Some were so flabbergasted that they knew not how to react, while some others were just angry—not at Lionel Messi, but at his team-mates.
It is a well-asserted fact that Messi is loved more at Barcelona than in Argentina. In fact, he has more haters in Argentina than anywhere else in the world. This might have been another one of his reasons to quit La Albiceleste.
However, ever since the 5-time Ballon d’Or winner announced his retirement, the Argentineans have been snapped out and thrown into the realm of epiphany: how will the nation’s football team cope without its best player? Where would it be?
Suddenly, all that hate just disappeared and we can now see fans flocking the streets and filling up the billboards and social media with messages requesting Messi to come back. The swift rise in the adoration has become a wonderful sight to behold, something that should definitely melt the heart of the Barca star.
From the president of the country to Diego Maradona, everyone wants him to reverse his retirement decision and make a comeback for everyone knows that he still has a lot to offer and the team is not yet ready to function without him.
"I spoke with him to congratulate him and tell him he had done a great championship," Argentina president Macri told reporters.
He added: "I don't understand. The truth is that it's a joy, a gift from God, to have the best player in the world in a country like ours.
"Messi is the biggest thing we have in Argentina, so you have to take care of him."
Keeping all these factors in mind, it would actually be surprising if Messi doesn’t retract his decision. He might have openly shown his displeasure at the Argentina Football Association, but his retirement has jolted them and they will now do everything in their power to get back their star man—which will result in them making some promises and taking some actions to fulfil them.
This will result in the improvement of Argentina football in general, something that Messi and his countryman have been seeking for a very long time.
This retirement decision could just turn out to be the turning point in Argentina’s football history.