Archive | June 2016

Messi: Too young to quit

Messi: Too young to quit

By Frederick Mordi

 

Messi

“The national team is over for me. It’s been four finals. It’s not meant for me. I tried. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over.”

With these words, Lionel Messi, the legendary Argentine striker, announced his early retirement from international football, last Monday. This announcement, which was totally unexpected, shocked his fans around the world. Since then, there have been calls for Messi to rescind his decision. The ‘Don’t go Lio’ campaign has gone viral on the social media.

Leading the campaign is the President of Argentina himself, Mauricio Macri, who is reportedly planning to meet Messi next week to persuade him to change his mind. “The truth is that it’s good fortune, a joy, a gift from God to have the best player in the world in a country like ours that is so football-crazy,” Macri was quoted as saying.

Similarly, charismatic Argentine footballer, Diego Maradona, has also added his voice. Maradona said: “Messi has to stay because he will reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia in conditions to become world champion.”

Maradona

Messi’s decision to quit playing football for Argentina followed the humiliating loss his team suffered the previous day, at the hands of, or to be more precise, legs of the Chileans, at the final of the 2016 edition of Copa America. The Argentines lost 4-2 to Chile in a penalty shoot-out, after the match ended 0-0 at the end of 120 minutes. Messi missed a crucial penalty kick in the match.

Having earlier lost to Chile also at the final match last year; having failed to beat the Germans in the final of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil; and having been defeated by Brazil at the final of the 2007 edition of Copa, Messi must have felt that that was the last straw. It was Argentina’s fourth major final loss in nine years.

It is too early for Messi to quit. He has age on his side. He is just 29 years old. He is still in top form and has only recently, become Argentina’s all-time leading goal scorer with 55 goals. He has the capability of playing in at least two more World Cup tournaments. Of course, his records at the club level are simply amazing. He has won eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues with Barcelona, his club. He has also won the Ballon d’Or five times and the Olympic gold at the 2008 Games. He is unarguably one of the best players in the world today.

Perhaps, this quote attributed to one of the greatest basketball players in the world, Michael Jordan, may cheer up Messi a bit, as he ponders whether to return to the national team:

Jordan

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

Messi should keep trying. Champions do not quit.

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