I see Lionel Messi emotionally fatigued- Argentine Technical Director Luis Cesar Menotti
Written by: Anjishnu Roy
The Argentina legend is making a comeback on the international front after nearly eight months.
After being defeated 4-3 by Kylian Mbappe’s France at Kazan in the FIFA World Cup knockout round fixture in 2018, Lionel Messi quietly backed away from national team duties. Unlike the emotional decision following the Copa America in 2016, this was a calculated move and it was expected he’d be back sooner or later.
After around eight months and having missed six friendlies under new manager Lionel Scaloni, the highest scorer in Argentine history returned to the squad once again in order to face Venezuela and possibly Morocco as preparation ahead of the important Copa America in June which will be played in Brazil.
"It's a joy that Messi comes back," Scaloni told in a news conference. "Despite my youth, I have a chance to train him."
"I have to try to get the team to accompany him and make the best of it. Let's hope that with Messi's return the team is more empowered."
“It is the others who have to take that step so that Argentina can return to the level it had.”
“We have a way of playing and feeling football in these six games we’ve had. We’re not going to change it, that [Messi] is coming is more incentive for us and another addition.”
With the national side, the line between unrealistic expectations and intense pressure blurs quickly for Lionel Messi who is considered as an international failure despite carrying Argentina to three consecutive international finals including the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, none of which Argentina would make it without their talisman and skipper.
Following the retirement in 2016, Messi reversed his decision two months later with public outcry demanding his return and was yet again the reason why Argentina even qualified to the World Cup in Russia in the first place after Messi took matters in his own hands and scored a sublime hattrick against Ecuador in the final qualifying game.
Argentine technical director Luis Cesar Menotti has explained how this emotional baggage with the national team adversely affects Messi.
“It scares me that Messi plays. I see him emotionally fatigued between the Champions League and the national team,” Menotti said.
“I see him very tired. He has a lot of obligations and with a lot of emotional baggage, a lot of responsibilities at his feet.”
Messi, who has been confirmed as a starter against Venezuela on Friday was also greeted with a pleasant welcoming back video by the AFA, the highest governing body of football in the country.
The AFA have put together this Lionel Messi video, welcoming him back to the Argentina national team. pic.twitter.com/Q4EQnbmqov— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) March 21, 2019
"This Friday Messi returns to the National Team. A genius who carries the hope of fifty million Argentines. Don't miss it."
Published: Fri Mar 22, 2019 04:43 PM IST