Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest soccer player on the planet, is “unhappy” with the Argentine National Team according to former coach Cesar Luis Menotti. Menotti, now 78 years of age, previously managed FC Barcelona and the Argentine National Team in the 1970s and ‘80s.
Messi is the all-time leading goal scorer in Argentina soccer history.
Messi’s relationship with Argentina has always been a fascinating one. He may have been born and raised in the South American country, but Messi has found much more success in terms of winning in Spain for La Liga’s Barcelona. Messi is the most distinguished La Liga player of all-time holding career records for most goals and assist in league history, but he has yet to deliver a Copa America or FIFA World championship for Argentina. On the other hand, Messi has won eight La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions League titles with Barcelona.
"At Barcelona Messi is happy. But it seems he's not allowed to be [happy] here [in Argentina]. We live in so much anguish that we don't allow him to be happy and because the environment is not good, the team doesn't manage to play well. Without Messi we would not have got through the first round at the World Cup. When everything seems like it's falling in Argentina, Messi appears and he builds. But he's not happy because there is an environment of resentfulness. This is how we live," Menotti said.
Anguish is the perfect word. Argentina, led by Messi, made it to the finals of the 2014 World Cup, but lost 1-0 to Germany. In 2015 and 2016 they fell to Chile while not scoring a single goal. Just days after losing to Chile for a second consecutive year, a disappointed Messi said he was retiring from the national team. That of course didn’t hold up for long, but you could see the frustration between Messi and his native country.
In all likelihood Messi will participate in the 2018 World Cup, and odds are, that will be his last chance at winning it all for Argentina.
Argentina’s next scheduled game will be on March 20 of 2017, when they take on Chile.