Another Copa America and potentially more heartbreak around the corner for Lionel Messi, whose international career has largely been a series of disappointments up to now.
The Barcelona legend, who is arguably the greatest footballer any of us have ever seen, was unable to prevent Argentina slumping to a 2-0 defeat in their opening 2019 Copa America clash against Colombia on Saturday evening.
Second-half goals from Roger Martinez and Duvan Zapata earned Colombia their first victory over their South American rivals for 12 years.
Messi had a brilliant chance to break the deadlock before Martinez’s opener.
However, the 31-year-old was unable to find the net with a close-range header. Minutes later, Colombia took the lead through Martinez’s screamer.
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Messi said the Group B defeat left his team “feeling better,” per BBC Sport.
"We didn't want to start this way,” he added. "But now we have to lift our heads and keep going."
Argentina cannot afford to lose again in their remaining two group-stage matches against Paraguay and Qatar.
Failure to reach the knockout stages would obviously be disastrous for La Albiceleste, who went into the tournament as one of the favourites.
Messi’s critics have, unsurprisingly, jumped on him after this latest result.
One week after Cristiano Ronaldo helped Portuguese win the UEFA Nations League, Argentina’s latest result has provided Messi’s doubters with more ammunition to attack him with.
However, one clip from Saturday evening’s match in Salvador pretty much sums up Argentina and Messi’s situation right now.
‘Messidependencia’ is a word often used for Barcelona - it basically means an over-reliance on Messi - but it applies to Argentina even more.
Just watch this clip from the Colombia game…
Messi is forced to pick the ball up from deep and beat Colombia by himself, trying to avoid bone-crunching challenges in the process.
Every time he rises to his feet again after being fouled, his teammates immediately look to give him the ball again.
While it’s understandable that Messi’s teammates seek to find him at every available opportunity, he can’t do it all himself.
Other players - good players at that - are there to take responsibility.
The star can only shine when the collective balance of the team is right.
But in this case, Argentina are currently just Messi and 10 others.News Now - Sport News