Lionel Messi is hailed as one of the greatest footballers of all time, and the Barcelona talisman is sure to retire as a legend of the game. While he has produced the goods consistently for Barcelona over the years, his failures for Argentina are well documented.
However, the stars seemed to be aligning for Argentina and Lionel Messi in 2010. Diego Maradona was appointed as the head coach for the FIFA World Cup that year, and they went into the campaign with a renowned sense of optimism.
After a decent start to their World Cup campaign, Lionel Messi and co suffered an embarrassing 4-0 defeat against Germany.
After the game, reports emerged that several leaders of the Argentina camp asked for early flights back home, much to the dismay of Maradona.
Lionel Messi's World Cup failures
Lionel Messi, on the other hand, was visibly distraught. Maradona recalls that the Argentina No.10 was crying in the shower, while the rest of the players didn't bat an eye. In an interview with TYC Sports in 2019, Maradona shed light on his side's disastrous defeat against the Germans.
"I am a friend of Lionel Messi. And he cares for his national team. After that 4-0 loss against Germany in the World Cup, I saw Lionel Messi cry like a child."
"He was crying in the shower while others who were supposed to be the team leaders were already asking for an early flight home. I saw it."
The pressure on Lionel Messi's to win an international trophy peaked in 2016, as Cristiano Ronaldo led Portugal to an unprecedented triumph in Euro 2016. Since winning the Olympics with Argentina in 2008, Lionel Messi has failed to get his hands on a trophy for Argentina, and the wait looks set to continue till 2021, at least.
Lionel Messi's trophy drought with his country is the only blemish in an otherwise flawless career as a senior pro. Having won everything at club level, Lionel Messi has also broken several long-standing goalscoring records and is the only player in history to have six Ballon d'Or awards to his name.
The World Cup trophy eluded Lionel Messi again in 2014, this time by the finest of margins. Argentina were beaten in extra-time by Germany in the final that year, as Lionel Messi missed out on football's biggest prize by a whisker.
Argentina came into the World Cup to give a good account of themselves, but Lionel Messi's heroics spearheaded them to an unlikely final.
While it remains to be seen if he finally gets his hands on a trophy for Argentina, Lionel Messi continues to defy the odds for Barcelona. With 19 goals and 12 assists to his name in La Liga so far this season, the Argentine leads the Spanish top-flight for both those stats.
Additionally, Lionel Messi has also spearheaded Barcelona to the La Liga summit. The Blaugrana lead Real Madrid by two points as things stand and will look to finish the season strongly after the restart.Published 01 Jun 2020, 20:29 IST