Lionel Messi’s words following Argentina’s 3-0 humbling to Brazil last week certainly inspired his teammates.
“Within all the bad things and the s*** we are in, we still depend on ourselves," he said.
"If we defeat Colombia we get back into the fight again, all the teams are near. But it is true we are aware and we know that this is not the way to do things.
"We have to change a lot to defeat Colombia."
It probably was Messi’s words that did the trick, because Edgardo Bauza didn’t change a whole lot. Lucas Pratto and Gabriel Mercado came in for Gonzalo Higuain and Pablo Zabaleta respectively, and Argentina switched from a 4-4-1-1 to 4-2-3-1, but Messi’s presence was all it took for the Albiceleste to seal a much-needed victory.
Messi seemed to play angry, like he was desperate to win the game. He opened the scoring with a beautiful free-kick in the 10th minute and celebrated as if he had won the World Cup.
Against an angry Messi, it was always going to be a long night for Colombia.
When Messi got mad...
In Rio Ferdinand’s autobiography, Thierry Henry tells a fascinating story about how Messi took over a Barcelona training session when he was ticked off.
Ferdinand asked Henry to choose between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Henry instantly recalled a time when the Barcelona player was fouled and didn’t receive a free-kick from his coach.
Messi took over
Rio takes up the story.
“So when the ball went back to his goalkeeper, he ran back and demanded the ball. The goalkeeper rolled him the ball, and Messi then proceeded to run through the entire team and score in anger.
“Thierry said that was what he used to do in the playground at school. I did stuff like that too against little kids. But he did it against some of the best in the world: Yaya Toure, Puyol, Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets. And it wasn’t just that one time. He did it a couple of times.
“Thierry said: ‘Can Ronaldo do that?’ I said, ‘Well, I’ve never seen him do that.’ Thierry played with Zidane and Ronaldinho but they never did anything like that. He said: ‘That’s when I knew Messi was different to anyone we’ve ever seen.’”
The lesson? Don’t make Messi mad.