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As people comment on Messi’s performance



Of course it is evident that everyone knows that the burden – the focus, the debate – will be put on Messi.

These are some of the comments by Nigerian football fans about Messi.

Lionel Messi looked tense before kick-off (Getty)


He knew it. Everyone knew it. And everyone knows it is now highly likely he will not get his hands on the unique trophy, but instead maybe end his career in the competition with a uniquely bad performance from a player of such historic quality.

In truth, it didn’t feel or look right before the game (Olatunde)

The revelation that Messi had locked himself away in his room on the Sunday because he was so distraught at that penalty miss against Iceland was followed by a strangely subdued demeanour before the game. This did not seem like his usual introverted nature, but instead something more intense, as he so curiously and conspicuously fixed his hair while looking ashen-faced as the anthems played.

It was one of many haunting images for Argentina on a tortuous night, but there was one moment that highlighted how profound the problem has become on the pitch. It was when the score was still a mere 1-0 and Sampaoli had finally – and desperately – introduced Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain, with the latter almost immediately doing well to work a chance on the left and cut a ball back to the area near the box where Messi would usually be arriving. He arrived this time, but accompanied…and not by a defender.

It was instead Max Meza again occupying the same space as Messi, again taking a ball that should have gone to the captain, and again doing nothing with it. The winger could only feebly hit the ball at Danijel Subasic.


This was the story of the night, and a highly strange one at that, as the country’s best player so often found himself on the fringes of their play or bypassed altogether.

It was something that World Cup winner Jorge Valdano couldn’t help but notice, stating on Argentine television at half-time Sampaoli’s side were “playing as if Messi didn’t exist”.

If the role Sampaoli had set for him was eyebrow-raising, what was utterly astonishing was that – as Argentina’s need got greater – Messi did not take matters into his own hands as he’s done so often in the past with his own greatness. He instead did nothing. He didn’t have a single shot on target, or a single ball into the box.

To anyone any way familiar with his career, this is just shocking – and against his character. It also points to something deeper here, and those more profound problems.

It’s ultimately impossible not to think that this has just run its course, and he’s mentally burned out with the immense responsibility in a national side already renowned in the game as one of the most psychologically complicated around.


Argentina stands on the verge of elimination (Baruwa)

Trace Messi’s career with Argentina since 2011, and he reached the start of his prime years. Messi started to really produce for the national side, hauling them to finals, but the rest of the team didn’t really respond in the manner expected. It didn’t quite haul them up. It instead had an inverse effect, with so many players – and some of them stars – becoming increasingly dependent on Messi in an already lopsided squad. At the same time, the disappointments only became deeper and deeper, too. The re-assessed retirement of 2016 revealed so much in this regard.

That was then followed by the ridiculous situation in 2018 qualifying when there was such a pathetic difference between results with Messi and without him: a mere six points from a possible 24 when he wasn’t there; 21 from a possible 30 when he was.

People expect more result from Messi than he could give (Olufemi Akinnagbe)

Although Messi is a born footballer, overhype killed him. People expect more result from Messi than he could give. he is a good footballer but could not be compared to Ronaldo who works for whatever he becomes and his success. Messi is too over-confident.