Will Lionel Messi ever win a major trophy for Argentina?


After Argentina were knocked out of the Copa America by Brazil this week a dejected Lionel Messi was not a happy man. He blamed the referee, he blamed VAR- and he had some points but at the end of the day Argentina simply were not good enough, even though the side had played one of their best games in the last three years. They were out and Messi’s quest for a national trophy goes on.

Of course suggesting that Messi has never won a trophy for Argentina is one of the biggest mistakes that fans and pundits regularly make. He has won two trophies in the under 21 World Cup and an Olympic Gold. But of course the trophies that really count at national level is the World Cup and Copa America. Messi has come close reaching 4 finals, 1 World Cup and 3 Copa America’s only to lose each time. Indeed Argentina had reached the last 2 Copa America finals only to go home empty handed as on both occasions they lost to Chile.

But is it simply to be accepted that Messi regarded as one of the true footballing greats will never win a national award- he would be one of the very first players to do so if it did happen. When Argentina did lose against Brazil journalists were waiting for Messi to announce his early retirement as he did a few years ago, borne out of frustration than actually meaning it, and Messi will not retire.

What is evident though is that he isn’t getting any younger. Messi is 32 now and probably has four more years at the very top of his game. That means that he should be able to compete in another World Cup and another Copa America. The next World Cup takes place in 2022 in Qatar but the next Copa America will be next year. It will be held in two countries in Colombia and Argentina and that could be significant for Messi. Not all is lost.

It could well be a fitting way for Messi to end his international career winning Argentina’s first national trophy in almost 30 years and it has been a frustrating time for a nation that has produced so much quality throughout the years and has had nothing to show for it.

For now the quest goes on and some will point to the fact that you can’t really be considered the best if you don’t win international trophies too- whether that is really true or not is open to debate for another time.



Lionel Messi’s missing trophy still on as Argentina reach the Copa America semi finals but Brazil are waiting


Lionel Messi is known as one of the greatest players that the game has ever produced, some say and rightfully so in most cases that he is the best player ever. He has won everything multiple times over and scored well over 600 goals, but there is one major gap in his resume and that is his lack of trophies for his national side Argentina.

True Messi does actually have two trophies. The under 20 World Cup and the Olympic Gold with Argentina. But his critics are not going to count that and question his greatness based on the fact that he hasn’t won a World Cup or a Copa America.

Messi has been to 4 major finals- 3 Copa America’s an 1 World Cup, including 3 finals in a row and lost them all. The ability then has been there but the final push or dare we say it a little frozen in a final has come back to haunt Messi on several occasions.

This year after a poor start Argentina find themselves in the semi-final of the Copa America. That’s the good news, the bad news is that it is against Brazil, and it is in their home country and everyone believes Brazil to be the big favourites to win. Indeed some bookmakers have Argentina at 4/1 to win the game.

All of the pressure will be on Argentina, although they will remember that last time Brazil were in a semi final in a major competition it was the World Cup when they historically lost 7-1 against Germany.

This is a massive match for Argentina and then again for Brazil too and the final will be on July 7th this Sunday. The other semi-final will be against Chile and Peru, Chile might be the favourites but Peru have proved their worth holding Uruguay to a 0-0 result in the quarter finals and then beating them on penalties and look like tough opposition. Having said that Chile have won the competition for the last 2 tournaments and are aiming for 3 in a row, each time beating Argentina in the final. Could it be destiny that they meet each other again?

Messi has not scored many goals in the competition just one so far which was a penalty- but he won’t care if he doesn’t light up the tournament but Argentina win it. At the same time his side will need to see Messi perhaps put in a vintage display against their great rival to get to the final. The match will take place early on Wednesday morning and shouldn’t be missed. Indeed with a plethora of football all around us at the moment this will be the biggest game in world football.

Is this the year that Lionel Messi wins a trophy for Argentina at the Copa America?


The Copa America kicks off tomorrow and all eyes will be on the most important competition in South America, which welcomes other nations this year such as Japan and Qatar who have been invited. But what is surely on everyone’s minds is can Lionel Messi finally win a major trophy for Argentina?

Time is running out for arguably one of the best players to ever grace the game to win something for his country. True Messi has actually won the under 20 World Cup and an Olympic Gold for the national side, but he will be well aware that what really counts is either a World Cup or a Copa America.

It’s not as if Messi hasn’t been close either. Argentina reached the World Cup final in 2014, their best performance since 1990 but lost 1-0 in a dire final against the more slicker Germany. In 2015 Argentina then reached the Copa America final but there would be more heartbreak for Messi and co when they lost on penalties to the hosts Chile after the game had finished 0-0 after extra time.

Then there was the major rub the salt in the wounds type of result when the following year the Copa America was held again this time in America. The reason for it being held in 2016 was to mark the 100th anniversary of the competition. Argentina were superb which included beating the USA 4-0 on their way to the final where they would meet Chile again. And again the match ended 0-0 after extra time and again Argentina lost the final on penalties, which included Messi missing his one.

This led Messi to quit the national team- everyone knew he hadn’t really not with a World Cup in Russia coming up and at the time he was still in his 20′s but it was a real shocker for Messi to lose yet again in a major final, his 3rd loss in a row.

The big news in Brazil is that the host nation will be without Neymar, that can only be good news for any rival nation. But can Argentina win the competition? Well they are the second favourites to do so, but as we’ve seen time and again even if Brazil falter at home there are some other strong teams and the likes of Chile who have won the competition two times in a row cannot be ignored.

Argentina will kick off their competition on June 15th against Colombia and will also play Paraguay in two potentially tough games. Their final group game is against Qatar where they will be big favourites to win, at the same time Qatar have improved significantly over the last year but Argentina should be able to qualify for the knockout stages.

July 7th will already be etched into Messi’s mind. That is the final date and could well end up being one of the most special nights in Messi’s career- who said the football season had finished?

Chile win Copa America as Messi announces retirement


It was deja vu as Chile beat Argentina again in a Copa America final on penalties but an even bigger story emerged after the game when Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international football.

The final was an exciting one as both teams went head to head, Chile were looking to win back to back Copa America’s as they were champions from 2015 and Argentina were looking to win their first major tournament since 1993. Messi the greatest player of a generation was supposed to make that difference but his team could not find a goal and after extra time the score was locked at 0-0.

And so to penalties and Messi who had been one of the players of the tournament incredibly missed his penalty as Chile belted in their remaining ones and became champions once again after Biglia missed another.

Credit had to be given to Chile who came under pressure but also went toe to toe with Argentina. They had more possession and more completed passes and had 2 shots on goal. But Argentina only had one more and it seemed on reflection that the favourites did not dominate a final that they were supposed to.

Moments after Chile celebrated an unexpected win even though they were the champions Messi was interviewed and that is when he gave his huge bombshell. Messi said: “It’s tough, it’s not the time for analysis, In the dressing room I thought that this is the end for me with the national team, it’s not for me. That’s the way I feel right now, it’s a huge sadness once again and I missed the penalty that was so important. I tried so hard to be a champion with Argentina. But it didn’t happen. I couldn’t do it. I think it’s best for everyone, for me and for many people who want it. The choice for me is over, it is a decision. I tried many times.

Gerardo Martino the Argentina coach reflected: “The burden of the consecutive games [lost] has been accumulating these last two years. He feels like you would expect a player to feel after playing and losing a final.”

The question that the world’s media are now asking is was Messi’s retirement speech just said in the heat of the moment? At 29 and with a World Cup just two years away it would seem odd for the world’s best player not to participate and change his mind. Only time will tell, but for now Argentina are still seeking their first trophy in a generation.

Can Juventus’ Arturo Vidal really replace Bastian Schweinsteiger at Bayern Munich this summer?

Bayern Munich are reportedly close to signing Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, with club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge admitting the perennial German Bundesliga champions have been lining him up this summer, saying: “We’re interested, but we’re not yet so far that we’ve discussed details and signed contracts. I read that it was all wrapped up and I cannot confirm that. I hope at the end of the day he will come.”

The title-holders are looking to replace Bastian Schweinsteiger, who left the German outfit to join up with his former manager at Manchester United, and in his place Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal looks to be the preferred replacement. Given the differences in style between the player and manager Pep Guardiola, it would be a surprise to see the Chilean through the door, but he’s been a long-term target of the Bavaria club.

“(Then-Bayern manager) Jupp Heynckes really wanted (Vidal) and we tried all we could to sign him. The message we were given was that the player didn’t want to come to us, but that’s not true. It was Leverkusen who clearly turned down what was a better offer from us at the time purely because they didn’t want Vidal to continue playing in the Bundesliga,” added Rummenigge.

Arturo Vidal, 29, is a talented and highly-experienced midfielder, but his attributes don’t quite weigh up with the manager’s philosophy. He has an abundance of energy, and is full-bloodied going into his challenges, but does the Chilean have the finesse and composure to blend into the Bayern outfit?

Known more for the amount of bookings picked up in a season, Vidal appears to be somewhat of a panic buy. He doesn’t fit the Bayern Munich system, and the extent of Guardiola’s true impact on the signing may speak volumes. A host of European sides were after him this summer, believing Juventus wouldn’t stand in his way if he wanted a move, but the German giants appear to have won the race.

With such a key player like Bastian Schweinsteiger having departed the club for Manchester United ahead of the new season, Bayern have quickly sought out the first world-class midfielder available. Vidal was seeking a move away from the Italian Serie A, and subsequently jumped at the chance to join a side of Bayern’s reputation. He’s certainly not a typical Guardiola signing, and he’s not of the same ilk as the player his replacing, so why have the Germans been so forthright in their bid to sign Vidal this summer?

Could Juventus look to AS Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan as replacement for Arturo Vidal?

With reports linking Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal away from the club this summer, the Italian Serie A side are looking into bringing in his replacement in the transfer market. The Chilean is a combative, industrious, fierce and physical central midfielder, and is a hard player to replace. However, AS Roma’s Radja Nainggolan certainly possesses some similarities with Vidal that could make him a worth replacement if the Chilean is sold this summer.

The Old Lady recently announced the signing of Sami Khedira, who has been brought in due to the impending exit of veteran Andrea Pirlo this summer. But Juve are desperate to keep Vidal, who has been linked with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United ahead of the new season, and will only consider long-term target Nainggolan if the 28-year-old leaves.

Vidal is a key component in the midfield, and provides an all-round threat. He can offer protection to the defence, with his combative attributes seeing him averaging a tackle or interception every 18 minutes in the Serie A last season. He can retain possession, completing 85% of his passes per game, and boasts fantastic vision that has seen him create 37 chances. But Vidal also contributes goals, scoring and assisting 11 times in his 28 appearances.

Juventus would struggle to find another player who has such an influence on the side like Vidal, but they may be forced to enquire about Nainggolan if interest doesn’t wean this summer. The AS Roma man, 27, is incredibly talented, and would somewhat fill the void left by Vidal given his attributes in midfield. He’s industrious and very combative, meaning few opponents get the better of him in games, evident from the 51 fouls given away in the league last season.

But critiquing his aggressive style would be doing the Belgian a disservice, as his technical qualities certainly put him on par with Vidal. Nainggolan has created 36 chances, made 40 dribbles, while scoring and assisting seven goals. He operates in the same position as his Chilean compatriot, and made more than 80 tackles in the division. Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has a couple of tough decisions to make this summer, as his side could suffer next season if he doesn’t adequately replace the talent sold in the transfer window.

While neither side want to part with their respective fierce central midfielder, Nainggolan would be a good replacement for Vidal, and the lure of trophy success would certainly be enough to convince the Belgian to make the switch this summer.