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"In any language, the whole world is united by a ball." --- Steve Amoia, World Football Commentaries

Monday, June 25, 2018

"Messi does not have the charisma or attitude of a leader."

Image credit: Anchor Sports.

Croatia, led by Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitić, put Argentina on the brink of elimination with a second-half masterclass at Novgorod Nizhny. With goals by Ante Rebić, Luka Modric, and Ivan Rakitić, the Croatians won their second group game on the trot. Oscar Amoia provides the Argentinean perspective about why Lionel Messi does not always perform well on the world stage with the national team.

Translated from the Spanish by Steve Amoia.


1. On why he fails with Argentina.
2. On not being the new Maradona.
3. On Messi's love only being the ball.

by Oscar Amoia for World Football Commentaries

1. On why he fails with Argentina:

Lionel Messi. What hasn't been said of this authentic virtuoso of football up until now. Hundreds and thousands of words have been written and read analyzing this exceptional player. But what happens to him when he plays for Argentina?

As usual, a unique truth doesn't exist. What you do find is a blend of questions that make a theme and a team that does not have a definite style of play. The players come together days before to form a group. The pressure to want to assume a leadership role that by his personality, Messi doesn't have. Exaggerated anxieties to demonstrate before his people who he really is. All of this influences, all of this is felt, all of this produces a result that has been seen. The best player in the world playing fastidiously, exaggerating more than what is usual without success, not achieving what he wants, what the fans want. Everything is fed again through the circuit.

2. On not being the new Maradona:

The Argentinean fan believes that Messi is the new Diego Maradona, but nothing is further from reality. They are not comparable in many aspects but fundamentally in how their personalities are manifested. Maradona has been and still is a rebel. A rebellious leader that puts all of the pressure on his own back, who is angry with everyone, who was discussed by the whole world by his words and his play. Who can forget his insults during the 1990 World Cup final in Rome when they played the Argentinean anthem and all of the Italians present at the stadium jeered and whistled? That was Diego, a rebel, a born leader, an exceptional player in every aspect but with an added measure that made him different.

3. On Messi's love only being the ball: 

Messi is almost a goblin of the ball. He is a Playstation player who does what nobody else does with pace. But he doesn't have the charisma or the attitude of a leader. He is a guy with a low profile. He only speaks with the ball, he doesn't insult anyone, he doesn't fight. You almost don't even recognize his voice. His love is the ball and certainly he treats it as such.

But if you don't ask him to be Diego, he would be calm, his play would entertain and he doesn't need to be the boss of our teamWith FC Barcelona, Messi is that goblin. The one who appears with his demonic bursts and cuts opposing defenders to threads. But he isn't the leader of the team. That is not for him. Messi wants to play with the ball; nothing more than that. We should leave him to do what he surely does better than anyone.

About The Author

Oscar Amoia is a financial professional from Buenos Aires, Argentina who grew up in the neighborhood of La Boca. Oscar is a socio vitalicio, or lifetime member, of C.A. Boca Juniors. He has contributed commentaries at the International Herald Tribune 2006 World Cup Fan Blog, Soccerlens and World Football Commentaries, respectively. You can read his other commentaries here.

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Steve Amoia is a freelance writer and translator based in Washington, D.C. He is the publisher of World Football Commentaries since 2006 and published The Soccer Translator from 2008 to 2015. 

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