Messi and Russia 2018: All or nothing
The Argentine legend hopes to obtain the world title in his fourth attempt and thus be able to reach the highest point of soccer Olympus
Leer en español: Messi y Rusia 2018: Todo o nada
Over the years, great superstars have emerged in football and they have managed to conquer the entire planet, triumphing in the World Cup. Players like Pele, Maradona, Zidane, Ronaldo Nazario de Lima, Buffon, and Beckenbauer went on to eternity as the best soccer players in history, not only for their quality but for having achieved the soccer title of greatest importance in the entire world.
On the other hand, there are players like Di Stéfano, Johan Cruyff, Platini, Zico, Paolo Maldini, Eusebio, and Roberto Baggio, among many others, who although dazzled the world with their talent and knew how to succeed in their respective clubs, never managed to lift the World Cup, this being perhaps the biggest blot of their career.
Lionel Messi, the legendary Argentine star of 30 years, is considered by many to be the best player of today and qualified by many others as the best player in history. However, Messi has a great debt to himself, to history, and to his team: he has not yet managed to win the World Cup.
Messi still has a fourth and (possibly) last World Cup attempt in Russia 2018. In this version, 'La Pulga' will play the biggest challenge of his career: winning the World Cup and writing another gold page in the history of football. However, if Messi fails, the footballer will become one of the greatest players in history without a crown.
Messi in the World Cup
The 2006 World Cup in Germany was the competition in which Lionel Messi made his debut in the World Cup; however, it was not positive for the Argentine star. Messi went to the World Cup with almost 19 years, played only one game, scored just one goal - against Serbia and Montenegro in the group stage - and did not play a single minute in the quarterfinal match against Germany, in which Argentina fell on penalties and was eliminated from the World Cup. The Argentine technician, José Pékerman is still strongly criticized for not giving more continuity to Messi in that World Cup.
Four years later, at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Messi came under great pressure. 'La Pulga' already figured as the superstar of FC Barcelona and many people designated him as the successor of Diego Armando Maradona, the best player in the history of Argentina and technical director at the time.
Argentina played five games in total in the cup. Messi was a holder in all and became the captain in the game against Greece. 'La Pulga' also could not make a great World Cup in South Africa 2010, it was impossible to score a single goal in the five games he played. Argentina was eliminated again by Germany in the quarterfinals, but this time with a humiliating score of four goals to zero.
Messi went ahead with the Argentine team despite the defeats and came to face his third World Cup in Brazil 2014. There, ‘La Pulga’ came with almost 27 years and as the absolute captain of the selection. Argentina managed to reach the World Cup final due to a great team, the exorbitant level of Messi, and luck led a not so difficult way, because the only country with hierarchy that Argentina had to face before the final was the Netherlands in the semifinal.
Messi participated as captain in the seven games that Argentina played in the cup and could score four times, all of them in the group stage. The World Cup was again rigorous with Argentina and Messi, as Argentina faced again against Germany, this time in the grand final of the tournament.
The German national team took the World Cup home after beating Argentina with a goal in the second part of the game. Messi was minutes away from reaching the maximum soccer glory, but the Germans, habitual Argentine executioners, prevented Messi from passing IGNORE INTO eternity and entering the top of Olympus football.
Soccer has decided to give a new opportunity to Messi, and it will be in Russia 2018 where the Argentine star will play his fourth World Cup with almost 31 years. It is expected that this is the last performance of Messi in a World Cup, because in Qatar 2022 he would arrive with almost 35 years, something very difficult for a field player.
His Argentine national team is not in excellent condition since the South American qualifiers, and this has been confirmed in the most recent friendly match against Spain. However, Messi will try to reverse the situation, to fight to the end for his country, and to reach the World Cup, because Russia 2018 represents the last opportunity for ‘La Pulga’ to achieve the greatest yearning of a footballer. For Messi, Russia is his last bullet in the chamber, and that is why it will be there where he plays all or nothing, where he will define whether he will belong to the club of the eternal players who won a World Cup, or if he will be part of the group of the greatest players in history who failed in the attempt.
LatinAmerican Post | Javier Aldana
Translated from “ Messi y Rusia 2018: Todo o nada”