From Lionel Messi and his relationship to his country, everything has been said and written. Often to argue that the child of Rosario – who left at 13 for Barcelona to pursue a career there, then found a family there and invent a destiny there – was not quite Argentinian, or at least not enough. Thus, “Leo the Catalan” could not even prepare the traditional asado, almost a fault in a country where slow cooking over embers is as sacred as football.
But for his last World Cup, Messi and Argentina finally met. Unconditionally and unreasonably, as the Gauchos love their idols, to the point, for the most fanatical, of having created in 1998 a Church to the glory of another left-hander, Diego Maradona, this prophet of genius but also a poor sinner, died on November 25, 2020.
Before the World Cup in Qatar, Lionel Messi was still considered a mere human. But that was before the Albiceleste captain won the World Cup on Sunday, December 18, after the victory against France. The man has changed in the eyes of the Argentines. At 35, he no longer appears like this ” nice boy “ which does not have “not enough personality to be a leader”. The acerbic comment comes from the mouth of God, or almost. Maradona had thus described Messi in 2016, during a conversation which he thought private with Pelé.
For a very long time, Messi was wrong three times. His early departure for Europe, not being Maradona and never having won anything with his selection when he accumulated trophies with FC Barcelona. As if his genius imposed a moral debt on him vis-à-vis his country. Arrives this July 10, 2021 and this victory in the Copa America, the first since 1993 for the Albiceleste. The place and the opponent could not be better chosen: the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro and the Brazilian rival, beaten 1-0.
Neutral political object
“This victory relieved him of some pressure. People can’t say anymore that he didn’t play with us like in a club, notes his former national teammate Pablo Zabaleta in a column for the BBC. Before that, it’s like he has to win – always win. That nothing else was acceptable. »
With this success in the most prestigious South American competition, Argentina seems to discover another Messi. His voice too, he who has so often been said that his feet spoke for him, that his sighs took the place of speech. In this video posted on social media, a manned captain can be heard talking to his teammates ahead of the final. “I really enjoyed these forty-five days when no one complained about travel, food, hotels, land. Forty-five days without seeing our families! Forty-five days! El “Dibu” [Emiliano Martinez, le gardien] became a dad! He became a dad, and he hasn’t been able to see his daughter yet! »
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