The football world has been waiting to see Lionel Messi shine for Argentina in this year Copa America. Unfortunately, Messi was unable to perform magically in the two games that he played against Bolivia and Colombia. The fans were expecting to see the talented Messi doing the same magic that he had done for FC Barcelona of Spain under the maestro Pep Guardiola with Xavi and Iniesta as the full conductors in the midfield. To this point, many fans can’t understand why Messi cannot perform for Argentina as he did for Barcelona. I think it is appropriate for me to offer a point of view on that particular issue.
Actually the main reason is not Messi but the coach, Sergio “El Checho” Batista. Please bear in mind that I have nothing against Batista. Actually, I enjoyed his game when he played for Argentina in the 1986 World Cup wearing the number 2 jersey. He was a fantastic defender and always cool under pressure but this time the pressure is enormous. Tough Batista had won a gold medal for Argentina in the Beijing Olympics, we must give some of the credits to the talented Juan Roman Riquelme who orchestrated the midfield for Argentina and was able to play perfectly with a younger Lionel Messi. Unfortunately this time, there’s no Riquelme to send a through-ball to the talented Messi. Unless one is Diego Armando Maradona, thre’s no way that one player can win everything. It is 11 against 11 not 1 against 11. Messi is not the Messiah for Argentina but he can create something out of nothing to crush the opponent. Messi should not be responsible for Batista’s failure to assemble an Argentina’s team that contains some of the world’s best footballers.
For example, Batista kept saying that Argentina need to play like FC Barcelona. He failed to understand that Argentina need to play like Argentina. The people are expecting their national team to have its own identity. In the 1978 World Cup, the world has witnessed the Argentina of Cesar Luis Menotti conducted by the talented Mario Alberto Kempes. In the1986 World Cup, the fans of the round ball have witnessed the Argentina of Carlos Bilardo orchestrated by the greatest player ever, Diego Armanado Maradona. In 1998, the spectators of the most beautiful sport in the world, have witnessed the Argentina of Daniel “el Kaiser” Alberto Passarella under the direction of Juan Sebastian Veron. 2002, Marcelo “el Coco’ Bielsa had Argentina’s best squad but only to bail out in the first round. in 2006, Jose Nestor Pekerman brought the beautiful football back for Argentina under the baton of the great Juan Roman Riquelme only to fail against Germany in the quarter finals. Finally, we can’t forget the Argentina of 2010 under Diego ” Dieguito” Armando Maradona armed with the worlds’ best footballer, Lionel Messi who was denied by the talented German national team. But again, the question is what is the imprint of Batista on Argentina?
Argentina is not a football club. It is a national team. The country has the world’s best player at this time. Batista must find his own identity to bring prestige back to Argentina’s football that fans all over the world have been waiting to see. So far, we have seen a confused Batistua with a confused team in the 2011 Copa America. He is sinking Messi into a deep hole. He continues to destroy Messi’s confidence by not exploiting the strengths of the the talented player of FC Barcelona.
For example, why playing in the midfield with Banega, Mascherano and Cambiasso who are not creative but defensive midfielders. Another point, Batista keeps saying, he wants Tevez to play like a central striker but he puts Tevez on the left wing. Batista also said that Messi should be his striker between the two central defenders but Messi can’t get the ball and has to go all the way to the midfield to get it and wastes all his energy by the time three or four opponents collapse on him. As you can see, the coach of Argentina is extremely confused on putting the team together.
In order for Argentina to have a chance in this Copa America, Batista must change his tactics. And most coaches tend to die with their tactics, and I hope that Batista is not one of them. If he is one of them, he will be seen as the ennemy of Lionel Messi and the cause for Messi’s lackluster performance. It is not about making Argentina like FC Barcelona but it is about finding the true DNA of the Albiceleste.
Finally, Batista will have an opportunity to redeem himself on July 11 in front of Costa Rica. He must change the lineup by revamping the defense, the midfield, and the attacking front. My recommendation for him is to put the talented Javier “El Flaco” Pastore in the midfied behind the best of the world, Lionel Messi. Up front, Batistua needs to put Gonzalo Higuain and relegate the erratic Lavezzi to the bench. There is no time for speculation. The time is now and the whole world is waiting to enjoy the magnificent football of Lionel Messi. Can Bastita find the pieces to exploit the greatness of the talented Messi or will he continue to be the ennemy of Lionel Messi? We’ll find out on July 11 against Costa Rica under the direction of Ricardo “El bigoton” Lavolpe, the reserve goalie for Argentina in the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico.
Until next time…