The Copa America 2016 is on, and once again, Lionel Messi is facing the question of whether he can win the title with the national team and thus meet the expectations of his Argentine fans.
The Albiceleste, with Messi leading the charge, has reached two consecutive finals at the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 Copa America, yet they failed to eventually clinch the title.
With the Copa Centenario on this summer in the United States, Messi once more has to show whether his superb form as Barcelona player will be able to carry Argentina to championship and eventually win the cup.
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Messi failing to reproduce Barcelona form
Criticisms saying Lionel Messi, who has been the five-time recipient of Ballon d’Or, failed to replicate his winning performance in Barcelona when he plays with his national team Argentina are not new.
However, long-time Paraguay international Roque Santa Cruz contradicts this notion by saying that Messi found his place. He believes that it is the Argentine public’s pressure that still talks about a Messi that is not the same one at Barcelona, ESPN FC reports.
“Having seen him at different tournaments and competitions, I can say that he is always one of the best and performs at a high level. But he still must win a title with Argentina to be close to what the Argentine public thinks he can achieve,” Roque added further.
With Lionel Messi and other professional Argentines playing, Argentina is always a candidate for the cup.
Messi regarded best footballer of all time
Even if Lionel Messi is widely regarded as the best footballer of all time, he still has not won the Copa America and the World Cup for Argentina.
He made his debut for Barcelona at 17 after relocating to Spain from Argentina as a 13-year-old. He is the club’s all-time leading scorer and has become one of the most decorated players of all time at the age of 28, according to the Telegraph.
Whether Messi’s reputation will allow him to finally lead Argentina to glory in the Copa America 2016 is something many Argentine and Messi fans desperately want to see.