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Lionel Messi's retirement unispiring for youngsters

904   //    07 Jul 2016, 18:27 IST
 Messi with young Barcelona fans

The last month has been an eventful one for football fans. The biggest news that came was Lionel Messi’s retirement from international football following his third consecutive defeat in a tournament final in three successive years. Inevitably, it came up for debate and people began to judge and analyze his decision. One side expressed sympathy for him and the other questioned its rationality.

It is understandable that he was in a psychological turmoil and was burdened with the pressure of achieving success with the national team. Many stated that he won’t be able to stand on the same podium as Pele and Diego Maradona because he never won a major tournament with the national team. His sole achievement with his team had been a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. All of this definitely took its toll on him.

But, on the other hand, this decision may not only affect his legacy negatively but also be a wrong inspiration for many young and aspiring players. Lionel Messi is widely idolized, and a player whom innumerable people, both children and even adults look up to. But this shocking decision of his is nothing but an example of giving up and quitting. Yes, he was going through psychological stress following the loss, perhaps anyone would have. Also, it was completely his decision, and we should sympathize with him in such a situation but what’s worse is that his decision is evoking enormous amounts of sympathy on one hand, but blaming players like Gonzalo Higuan as a reason for his decision on the other.

A dejected Messi following Copa defeat

Again the same arguments arise, we shouldn’t blame Higuan because if it was his fault why Messi did not score in the match and also miss his penalty? If he would have been playing in a team like Ronaldo’s Portugal with whom he reached only one final compared to Messi’s four and even lost that one, then would he ‘quit’ at an even early age or change his nationality and so on.

The other side of the story is that he was under heavy pressure of winning the trophy after losing two finals in the last two years and replicating the legendary Diego Maradona, who had stated that they shouldn’t think about returning to the country if they don’t win. This way he would also ‘quit’ playing for Barcelona if they fail to win any trophy in next 2-3 years.

This decision was entirely his, but it could inspire youngsters in the wrong direction, which is not his mistake. Messi, who is so popular, is however setting a wrong example. An example of quitting and giving up, because one wonders despite the psychological pressure from his national fans, he had the support of his teammates and even of the rest of the world, which has been evident in recent development following his retirement announcement with players like Sergio Aguero and Javier Maschereno retiring to follow his lead, and Maradona asking him to return. He played for the number one national team in the world for which he deserves maximum credit in making of that team but he also played alongside world class players like Angel Di Maria and Javier Pastore, to name a few. A player of his reputation surely sets a bad example for youngsters with this decision and could also affect his legacy which will be spoken of in several years to come.

Every child is taught about moral values like determination and perseverance. A sport teaches the same to any child who plays sports, that it is nothing but a test of their determination and spirit. It is about win or lose when the other side loses they are consoled with “it’s a part of the game” or “don’t give up, you’ll win the next time” or”be proud that you’ve reached till here”. We look up to established players and idolize them and learn from them. And as Messi being the best footballer in the world there is uncountable number of people who would look up to him. Unfortunately, he sets a wrong example with this decision.  No coach or elder would be able to talk about one of the most important moments in Messi’s career to aspiring youngsters.

Although Messi’s return is quite certain for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and with upcoming players such as Paulo Dybala and Ramiro Funes Mori, he also has a good chance at it. But, a player of whose achievements football fans proudly tell to the youngsters, this shocking decision of his which shocked the whole footballing fraternity could probably go down as one of the most forgetful moments in his career, and surely have a negative impact on the youngsters. The answer to the question, “why did Lionel Messi retire from the national team despite being at the peak of his career”? It would be difficult to answer.

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I am a 10th grade student. I am a football fanatic and cricket enthusiast.
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