Here we are, witnessing Lionel Messi and Argentina failing in another tournament. It was not a surprise to see them defeated by Brazil, but still, the frustration is there. Despite having a great squad for decades and a superstar like Lionel Messi, Argentina simply could not win a trophy. The team, full of great individual talents, simply could not manage to produce an equally talented game. I think their lack of a talented game is due to the fact that they have a superstar like Messi. The team simply cannot handle Messi's presence on the pitch and almost all offensive actions aim to bring the ball to him. This has made Argentina's attacking game incredibly primitive in the last decade, resulting in lots of frustrations.
The reason why I claim other Argentinian players cannot handle Messi's presence is not anxiety. I think players do feel comfortable playing with him. The problem is at tactical and strategic levels. Whoever gets the ball in the offense, first looks for Messi to pass the ball, rather than following the natural flow of the game. Do not get me wrong; I am not criticizing Argentina for not having an efficient and sophisticated offensive plan. I argue that Messi's presence blocks the possibility of a plan in the first place. This leaves Argentina categorically inferior to other teams as the competition is between the teams, which have a clear strategy.
Now, since we have identified the problem, the solution should seem simple: It is time for Lionel Messi to retire from the national team. Yes, this is as radical as it could get, but Messi is the biggest problem today for the Argentinian national team. Without him, the team could start creating tactics and strategies to compete with teams like France, Spain, and Germany. Today, no team would trade an efficient strategy for a superstar; the era of superstars winning trophies alone has become an ancient myth. Then, if Argentina has to say goodbye to their best player to build a good strategy, I think they should do it.
However, you may claim that a coach like Klopp or Guardiola could create an efficient strategy even with Messi's presence. I think this is only possible if Messi radically changes the way he plays, from a dribbling superstar to a wise playmaker. Well, this is possible, but we must remember that he has never played in such a humble position; he was always the one being supported by playmakers like Xavi and İniesta. So I do not think he will change so dramatically at the age of 32.
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