- Lionel Messi faces his Waterloo
- Argentina crave a dictator
- Messi was never a leader
Great campaigns have been known to come acropper in Russia. However, the noble quest of Lionel Messi to crown his stupendous career with World Cup gold is one expedition many of us will be sorry to see end in disaster.
Even if he can summon one last effort to defeat Nigeria this evening, Argentina are on borrowed time.
A dysfunctional childlike football culture has deified Messi at the price of developing a team. Everyone must bow to the cult of the Messi-ah.
Diego Maradona is responsible for this, but Maradona was a born leader, demonic in his desire to be the best.
Platini, Zico, and Rummenigge were the great generals he longed to defeat and surpass. With Messi, there is a sense that there is more to life than that – which, of course, there is.
Messi has little to prove. It’s always been clear that he is not a natural leader. Carles Puyol, Xavi, and others assumed that mantle for him at club level, with Javier Mascherano doing it for Argentina in 2014.
With Mascherano diminished by age and Argentina bereft of leadership, Messi is adrift, slowly drowning in an expectation he cannot and has no desire to assuage.
Napoleon – another great who knows what it’s like to disappoint in Russia – always prefered a lucky general to a good one. Sadly, nobody in Argentina has realised that Messi isn’t even a general.