Football

Lionel Messi should seriously consider international retirement

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Lionel Messi is one unhappy man.

Not one month after helping to secure Barcelona's second treble in their history, the Argentine captain has been blamed for their failure to secure the Copa America.

It represents the second time in a year that Messi has had to bear the brunt of the Argentine public, incensed that he has been unable to inspire the team to victory.

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Last year it was a narrow loss to Germany, and this time a penalty defeat to Chile.

It's perhaps entirely fair to note that in both games Messi wasn't at his best, but equally it would be remiss not to mention his contributions on both tournaments to get the team to each final in the first place.

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It's easily forgotten that there are other high profile players in this Argentina team besides Messi.

Sergio Aguero, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore are just three players who also play at the highest levels of the game.

Walking away

In any event, the stinging criticisms that have found their way to Messi's doorstep have hurt the player. Deeply wounded might be a more accurate term.

So incensed has Messi become that there is a very real sense that he is considering walking away from the national side altogether.

That won't please too many people but it will please Barcelona.

The flip side of having such a wonderful exponent of the modern game in your side is the inevitability that he will be picked each and every time there is an international game.

Flying thousands of miles and through various time zones just to take part in meaningless friendlies isn't something that can appeal to the Catalan hierarchy.

Moreover, a typical international week would see Messi out of the picture at Barca for at least four or five days.

Lethargic

Not only does jet lag and lethargy become a problem once back on the training pitch but that's over half a week where Luis Enrique hasn't been able to call upon the services of his number 10 in training, drastically reducing the amount of time the team has to work together.

When this happens to coincide with an El Clasico match for example....well you can guess the consequences.

Whether the suggestion of imminent international retirement is just that - a suggestion - that Messi is even considering such action brings into sharp focus just how unloved he feels in the bosom of the Albiceleste.

A far cry from the love that he routinely receives in the amphitheatre that is Camp Nou.

There can be little doubt that Barca will be any beneficiaries of such a decision, and the most obvious benefit to Messi taking such direct action is the longevity to his club career.

Prolonged club career

Why wouldn't he want to maximise any time he has left in Europe with people who are deeply appreciative of his skill set and prowess on the pitch.

The benefit to Barcelona as an organisation is having a player already in his prime who can potentially add another year or two to his career because of a little less pressure and stress.

Players come and go at international level all of the time of course, and are often quickly replaced.

That certainly won't be the case with Messi. It took Argentina years to recover once Maradona hung up his boots. Expect something similar this time if it happens.

Those that are calling for Messi's head best be careful what they wish for. You don't know what you've got until you lose it.

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Topics:
Football
La Liga
Lionel Messi
Argentina Football
Barcelona

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