Football

Messi looks on during Argentina's loss to Venezuela.

Suarez and Benedetto show the difference in quality Lionel Messi is around for club and country

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Lionel Messi is enjoying yet another magnificent campaign for Barcelona - 39 goals and 18 assists in just 37 matches is simply phenomenal.

Last weekend, the forward conjured up another Man of the Match display, where Real Betis fans applauded and chanted his name after he completed a hat-trick with a stunning lob.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has won over 30 trophies at Barca but the one negative aspect of his glittering career is that he's never lifted a major honour with Argentina.

Messi returned to international duty this week for the first time since his country's crushing 4-3 defeat to eventual champions France in the 2018 World Cup.

Things didn't go to plan for the 31-year-old and two moments from his last two matches sum up the difference between the players around him for Barca and Argentina.

Messi returns to new Argentina regime

After Jorge Sampaoli's chaotic reign in charge, his assistant Lionel Scaloni and legend Pablo Aimar took over as caretaker managers of the Argentina national team.

Messi and Sampaoli during Argentina World Cup training

Back in November, Scaloni was confirmed as permanent manager until June, the month in which the 2019 Copa America tournament is scheduled to take place. 

On Friday, Scaloni named Messi in his starting XI against Venezuela in a front three alongside Gonzalo Martinez and rising Inter Milan star Lautaro Martinez.

However, the friendly, which took place at Atletico Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano, turned into a disaster as the Argentinians fell to a disappointing 3-1 defeat.

Messi during his country's defeat to Venezuela

Messi provided a few glimpses of his world-class abilities but even he couldn't rescue the match, which included a goal from Newcastle United's Salomon Rondon.

Messi and Suarez vs. Messi and Benedetto

Leo Messi's second goal in Betis 1-4 Barcelona was created thanks to a sublime back-heeled assist from strike partner Suarez.

Against Venezuela, Dario Benedetto replaced Lautaro with the score at 2-1 and the Boca Juniors front-man had a near identical opportunity to play Messi through on goal.

However, while Suarez produced a majestic pass, 28-year-old Benedetto got his attempt horribly wrong, as you can see in the videos below:

There is a obviously a clear difference in the level of Messi's teammates at club and international level, and none more so was this evident than in the above clip.

Messi and Suarez embrace at Betis

To make matters worse, the Barca and Argentina captain picked up an injury and will miss his nation's friendly with Morocco on Tuesday.

Do YOU think the difference in quality between Barca and Argentina is a problem for Messi's hopes of winning a trophy with his country? Have YOUR say in the comments box below!

Topics:
Internationals
Football
Argentina Football
La Liga
Barcelona
Lionel Messi
Luis Suarez

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