When Barcelona or Argentina win that usually means that Lionel Messi has been at the heart of the result, if he hasn’t scored a hat-trick then he scored a goal and if he hasn’t scored a goal then he influenced the game by assisting the winning one. The best player of his generation is everywhere in a game, but that can’t always be the case of course, even if he goes quiet once or twice a year.
The problem for being so great and getting praise is that when it all goes wrong you get the other side of the stick which is that the blame seems to lie on you. When Argentina lost the World Cup Final to Germany in 2014, Messi was blamed, he became the scapegoat for the loss but surely it was the only explanation as to why Argentina failed to become the first South American side not to win the World Cup in the region. In truth Gonzalo Higuaín’s shocking miss was the real blame as Germany went onto win the match 1-0.
Last summer Messi had a quiet World Cup but he was in a side who could not defend. It meant that they were failing the game before Messi could find the right balance in the game to get his own style together. When Argentina actually took the lead against France in the round of 16, Messi looked the most shocked, and of course France would go on to win the game 4-3. The final score made it look close but it really wasn’t.
Recently in the Champions League for Barcelona, Messi was hailed yet again as a masterclass as his one man show was just too much for Manchester United in Spain. Again at home in the semi-final v Liverpool Messi was simply too good and scored 2 goals as Barcelona won that game 3-0. But the tie was not dead far from it and Liverpool won the 2nd leg 4-0. Messi was devastated of course and the blame was put all on him.
In reality even at Anfield when Liverpool were far the superior team Messi created four decent chances. Barcelona’s best chance fell to Jordi Alba who really just needed to shoot, at that stage one goal from Barcelona could have killed the game. However Alba decided to pass to Messi who look puzzled given that he knew Alba was in the much better position. The reliability on Messi is too much within the team and it showed once again at the most crucial point.
Of course Messi fails sometimes, he is only human, and it can be frustrating to watch a star player not be able to turn it on. But blaming just Messi is near pathetic, lazy and short sighted. You win as a team and lose as one, as for the Liverpool defeat Ernesto Valverde the Barcelona coach naturally has to take quite a lot of the blame, if anything he failed to motivate his players in the right way at one of the most difficult grounds in Europe.