The legend was on target against Ecuador in Buenos Aires and in the next encounter at La Paz, one of the toughest venues in world football, he was found one of the most influential players for the Albiceleste. It is not always necessary to score goals and assist, but a player can have his presence felt with the impact of marshaling the game.
During the World Cup Qualifiers, the fans witnessed a different Lionel Messi who enjoys playing with Argentina more than his club Barcelona.
Are things changing?
Will this be the “New Normal?”
Over the past few months, the relationship between Barcelona and Messi has strained. This strained relationship would have an impact on the team’s performance even though, Ronald Koeman thinks that Messi is going well with the Catalan club, but during the matches; the exhaustion is always evident, which was not noticed at Buenos Aires and La Paz.
The Spanish website Marca says, “Now, incredibly, the tables have turned. It’s now the case that Messi suffers in Barcelona. His unhappiness was highlighted during the summer when he tried to find a way out of the Camp Nou and looked likely to join Manchester City or Inter, heartbroken and frustrated by humiliation in the Champions League, coaching changes, and institutional crises. With Argentina, though, the story is different.”
“The No.10 feels comfortable and at home in a group that accommodate him but don’t rely on him to an extreme degree.”
Argentina and Barcelona both are heavily dependent on Messi and when you are over-dependent on just one player, in many ways, the combination of the team suffers. You develop an idea that for the comfort zone of just one player, the whole formation and tactics take a step back. But on the other side of the coin, you have no option rather than making hard choices for the sake of a player who is once in a generation material.
Lionel Scaloni knows how to get through to his players and particularly, it seems, Messi. Like the previous managers, he has planned things centering on Messi, but this time around, he has been able to let Messi enjoy the game more – at La Paz one could witness this.
Until now, Argentina have maintained their unbeaten streak and Messi played a big role in those, which would certainly make the Argentine fans happy. Definitely, the real fans would always want their hero to shine in national colours.
Still, a lot to prove though!