Happy birthday to Argentina captain Lionel MESSI

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A big happy birthday to the Argentina captain Lionel MESSI and a personal message from myself to everyone willing to read.

Already 31 years old, it’s difficult to say something about MESSI which hasn’t already been said. At times, it feels as though we take him for granted. We forget just how good he really is because he does what he does on a regular basis.

No longer is he the mullet haired little guy who runs around dribbling half of the team. Instead, he’s matured into much more than that. He has turned into a player who calculates his dribbles, he drops deep into midfield and plays passes on the same level as those of MARADONA’s, RIQUELME’s or ZIDANE’s. His finishes are as good as RONALDO’s, MULLER’s, BATISTUTA’s or VAN BASTEN’s. When needed, he will track back and help out his back line to retrieve the ball. In short, he’s become the ultimate footballer.

Wearing the captain’s armband for any country is not easy let alone one that is as demanding and at times as unfair as Argentina. We often forget that MESSI (not only MESSI, but this generation) have gone through so much. Let’s not forget that had it not been for MESSI’s four goals in the group stages in 2014, there would not have been a knockout phase for Argentina in Brazil. Had it not been for MESSI’s performances throughout the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers or his hat trick in Quito, there would not even be a World Cup appearance.

Players of other country’s come out and say that MESSI needs help, he cannot do it all alone. Yet there are fans of the Albiceleste which want MESSI dropped from the team, which question his desire, which ask why he walks and not runs at times on the pitch. We have a tendency to hate on players of our team when things are going wrong yet look back years later wishing they were still on the team.

Juan Roman RIQUELME, Esteban CAMBIASSO, Roberto AYALA were all heavily criticized by many while on the team because they were considered “failures” by some. Because they couldn’t win a final. Yet as time passes by, we miss them more and more and wish we had a RIQUELME on the team to dictate play in midfield. We wish we had a midfielder like CAMBIASSO or a Roberto AYALA in the back.

Let’s not do the same with this generation or at the very least, let’s not do the same with the person who is keeping Argentina on the map on the international stage. As much as we want to see this team lift the World Cup trophy, I can only imagine how the players themselves feel. Let’s not let logic cloud our judgement.

MESSI has helped lead this generation into three finals. Did we lose all of them? Yes, yes, we did. But a lot of that has to be down to bad luck. To lose one or even two finals can happen. But all three? You have to be unlucky. Having your star number 9 miss a glorious chance in a World Cup final has to be bad luck. Having one of your star players injured for all three finals has to be bad luck. Having your captain miss a penalty kick in a final has to be bad luck.

I’m writing this not only as a thank you letter or a happy birthday post to MESSI (despite knowing he will never read this) but in these very dark times as fans, for us to rally behind the team. Let’s face it, there’s no player that wants to fail, especially at a World Cup.

We don’t (and probably never will) know all of the details that are happening behind the scenes. Much is being fabricated by the media which is not uncommon in Argentina. But let’s not forget some of the things this team has been through.

Off the pitch, the AFA have appointed many managers which were not fit to coach the Argentina team. The AFA had (still have) no money. Lionel MESSI has had to pay the salary of the security staff. The team had to pay for their own flights and food during the 2016 Copa America (I know they can all afford it but it’s ridiculous from a professional standpoint). The federation has used MESSI to parade the team around the globe, making money, not thinking about the players or the development of the team.

This team went through three different coaches in one year from when Gerardo “Tata” MARTINO quit, to Edgardo BAUZA taking over to Jorge SAMPAOLI becoming the coach. All of this in one year. There’s no stability on the team. The chances of new players being properly introduced and keeping some sense of calmness cannot be easy. Yet who is shouldering most of the blame? “MESSI and his friends.”

I’ve gone a bit off topic and I’ll try to bring it back. Despite all of the turmoil, there’s been one constant on the team. One card that always comes up trump, the magic key which has bailed us out of so many situations. Lionel MESSI. If this tournament truly is the end for many of these players, MESSI included, I would hate to see them go out with some of the comments I’ve been reading lately.

As a fan, I want to say a big thank you to MESSI. Thank you for the great memories that were reaching three finals. Thank you for making me watch my team in a FIFA World Cup final. Thank you for making me dream, even if for the 110 odd minutes that this team would be able to lift the trophy. Can you imagine that? Argentina defeating Germany and lifting the World Cup trophy in Brazil of all places? Thank you for making me dream about it.

Thank you for all the assists. I remember Hernan CRESPO being frustrated and desperately wanting a goal against Serbia & Montenegro in 2006 and you come in, RIQUELME takes the quick free kick and you play a ball across the entire back line and CRESPO taps it in. Thank you for the hat trick I watched from the stadium when you put three past Brazil back in 2012 in a friendly match. Thank you and your team mates for a ridiculous 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying campaign where you ran riot against everyone. Thank you for scoring that first penalty in the semi-finals against the Netherlands, I can only imagine the pressure you were under.

Thank you for the performance against Colombia during the 2018 qualifiers where you came back from retirement and absolute destroyed the Colombians. Thank you for the lone goal against Uruguay which got us the three points. Thank you for the hat trick against Ecuador in Quito which took us to the World Cup.

Thank you for the excitement, the goals, the dribbles and the assists. Simply put, thank you. Happy birthday to the best player in the world, the best I have ever seen and I have no doubt the best I will ever see. Happy birthday to Lionel MESSI.

118 Comments

  1. It s true that i dont like to see messi walking on the pitch especially when we are on draw or losing cause it creates so much spaces to the opponents people say haters!!! Come on nobody could hate messi did you see an argentinian fan who does maybe libermann and tyc sports journalists that s it.
    But as argentina fan and not messi groupie we have to admit that his autism attitude when we re losing or on bad situation pissed off more than one
    Ok he need a lot to be in his day but he wasn t like this before in 2010 he was too brilliant all goals scored had been served by his left foot he were involved in all
    2014 he was the gun of the team
    This year it seems to me that he s got a personal problem it could be his wife or father or something else not only the team cause he has never missed two games on a row even in wc final or copa he was better
    You know what if you look to that games missed (finals and this 1st round) you understand many things as the team don t want those title that easy
    In my opinion it s not messi who give up and drop the team it s his supposedly friends like aguero di maria higuain etc whom are wrickin his chance to be world champion and one day he will get it finally

  2. If Messi was decided to put a team or you people call so CALLED FRIENDS CLUB than shouldn’t be Aguero starting over Pipita?! Get over this crap guys. Obviously team was played like school boys against Croatia. From the minute of kick off i knew we will get murdered today. If you all watched the same game than you would also know that players wasn’t comfortable with the scheme. It was disaster. Otamendi was furious with Mercado in half time for something aswell i saw. Clearly team wasn’t playing as a team. We barely made any forward passes just passing around gk and cb. Anyway this team and back four line gave me little bit confidence although i am not comfy with Rojo in CB and Mercado in RB. This two get melt down when they in pressure and made silly move. Against Iceland Rojo could have done better job blocking the shot/cross but ball came between his legs. Accident or Mistake? Anyway in paper it’s a balance team and I demand Banega and Enzo play smart and quick passes in middle

  3. We need strong characters tomorrow.
    The likes who love pressure and face it head on. Who love the idea of being the super hero or thrives being the villain in the eyes of the world if it meant that his cockiness frightens the opposition. Who can carry the burden with out no qualms.
    The last 3 years that Portuguese twat is that character. Messi maybe for Barcelona but he is not the type to say to his players ‘don’t worry I’ve got this’.
    Messi is no doubt the greatest I’ve seen at being consistent.
    Ronaldo though has taken the limelight this year.
    It was Valdano who said that when the Germans equalized in 86 it was Diego who said “dont worry we are going to win this” 3 minutes later…….
    Ronaldo is closest to Diego than Messi. In terms of character and bravado.
    Messi needs to find that air of arrogance to carry us tomorrow…he had it briefly against Equador in November. But that was once.
    I hate to say this but we have a soulless team with a captain who likes to do his talking on the ball. But what if that wasn’t enough and what if he doesn’t get the ball?

    Anyway…..Messi is here today but gone tomorrow – the albiceleste remains forever.

  4. In case Messi has a big say in team selection etc, then he’s probably bad in doing so – many great footballers are not good in deciding team. Also possibly, his decision is clouded/ influenced by long time friends. So far, team news does not augur well for Arg. After all the help they have got from everywhere, they better put little more than an ounce of effort and show some intelligence for once in this WC. At least, they will then survive for a spectacular game rather than crashing out against minnows of WC.

  5. finally good artical from you roy…… thanks for that…..

    you missed some things AFA did…… argentina football team travelled on the plane with less fuel… what is the fuel value… and what is the players value… AFA IS MESS…. messi payed salary to those trainers… more than 5 years salary i think…. he gone through many difficulties… the fans never understand… they called what messi did as a captain…

    he only knows to play football… he will not argue… he wont score hand goal… he is not like that… he is like iniesta… pirlo and reus…. his charector like that… he gave me a lot of joy… thanks for lio i always love you… you are a genious… some of them even touch the football… but they will speak like won 20 ballon dr… they created football… and they invented new formation… they are fools… to argue them is absoutely waste… i always belive you… i know every six match you have some off match… but you got it two in a row… now is your time… and this is your tournment….. speak with your haters… on your play…. all the best lio… my best wishes.. play untill my death… that is my wish…. because no body will come like you… run with feat is hard i tried many time…. i dont get it … how you got that talent…. big salute………..

  6. In 2022 World Cup – the Ocean Eleven will be back:
    .
    ———————Romero——————–
    Zabaletta–Otamandi–Mascherano–Rojo
    Messi—-Banega—Biglia—-Di Maria
    ———–Higuain———Aguero———–
    .
    subs:
    Gago
    Tevez
    Mercado

  7. Guys … don’t argue a lot … we are simply OUT ….. with this coach and these kind of players … we are OUT … it is so sad 😭 to say it … but this is the truth …. we are playing in the same formation that was trashed by both Spain 🇪🇸 and Nigeria … Nigeria 🇳🇬 will repeat the amicable result and maybe more … just fire This Dump Sampaoli !!!!!! I am really depressed !!!!!!!!

  8. even though fazio is slow he should be at cb as

    1/ he has good understanding with otamendi
    2/ he is a Real CB
    3. he is good in the AIR

    no matter how slow you are if you have good understanding in defence, speed does not matter

  9. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEO !!!

    HARRY BIRTHDAY CAPTAIN !!!

    very nice article. make me emotional. i liked it.

    VAMOS ARGENTINA.
    VAMOS MESSI.

  10. Croatia cant risk losing their game against Iceland because if (god forbid) Nigeria beat Argentina by a lot, then Croatia will fall second in the group and will play France

  11. Reposting this comment again I can’t share a weblink for some reason.

    www. tycsports.com/nota/seleccion-argentina/2018/06/25/charla-entre-mascherano-y-sampaoli.html?utm_source=home&utm_medium=bloque&utm_campaign=superdestacado1grande1vertical

    Masche and Sampaoli discussing about team strategy infront of the media, Very good sign. Winning is a habit and if we manage to beat Nigerians then you never know with France. France has a good team but they haven’t looked particularly invincible. Lets pray Croatian reserves will play their heart out, i feel there will be few starters from last game but will get subbed after the break depending on the situation of the game , they also don’t want to put a break on their winning streak.

      • When you write your exam so bad that you are 100% sure you will fail only to find out after few hours that few questions were wrong so the school board has rescheduled the exam after few days!! Argentina already went through the feeling of getting knocked out of the world cup but while they were packing their bags Nigerians gave them one more chance. This is going to be the biggest test of their character!!!

  12. https://www.tycsports.com/nota/seleccion-argentina/2018/06/25/charla-entre-mascherano-y-sampaoli.html?utm_source=home&utm_medium=bloque&utm_campaign=superdestacado1grande1vertical

    Masche and Sampaoli discussing about team strategy infront of the media, Very good sign. Winning is a habit and if we manage to beat Nigerians then you never know with France. France has a good team but they haven’t looked particularly invincible. Lets pray Croatian reserves will play their heart out, i feel there will be few starters from last game but will get subbed after the break depending on the situation of the game , they also don’t want to put a break on their winning streak.

  13. I can see this is still Sampaoli’s team, but in agreement with the captains of team (Messi, Mascherano etc)

    That’s why we see Tagliafico there at LB, not Rojo
    That’s why we see Salvio still being considered at RB.
    That’s why we see only one of Aguero & Higuain, not both.
    That’s why we see Biglia not playing.
    That’s why we see there are only two upfront, not three as before.

    So don’t take it very far and say Sampaoli has no role in team selection and this is Players’ team. What I see is a team which both the coach and the captains agree with. I see only positive in this.

    In my opinion, Messi & Co should have done this before Croatia’s match instead of scratching the head, that is what the real leaders do. Better late than never.

    I have no doubt that this team is much better than our previous two teams. I hope to see Lo Celso, Dybala & Pavon as subs.

    Let the goals come flying from Messi & others.

    • Agree.
      “In my opinion, Messi & Co should have done this before Croatia’s match instead of scratching the head, that is what the real leaders do.”
      But what they have done instead..?
      Dimaria and Rojo used Instagram and vomitted their unhappiness there.
      Other senior players gathered like children and cried against Sampaoli.
      As you said, they should have done this before.

      • Mutiny against the coach? Pleeeease. This is the job of a) the coach to notice his players are not happy, b) the AFA to pressure thr coach (his boss) and c) thr team captain to address the cosch (messi) privately, which he might have.. but all signs point to Mascherano.

        Players are soldiers, they are not supposed to overule the coach. If they do, it means we have no coach. If that is where we are today, its NOT the players fault. Their only responsibility is on the pitch.

    • You can say thousand time he is over rated, he is not the greatest player ever. I will not argue with you. May be you don’t love football that’s why you don’t like him. Ask your self do you ever saw or will ever see a better goal then the goal he scored against “Getafe”. He is a magician, he is from another planet, unstoppable, greatest of all time thousand of comments for him from the greatest footballer. Still you can argue Because you don’t like him. I strongly believe you hate him, you don’t like him but deep inside in your heart you know He is super special. But if I am wrong, you truly believe he is over rated and not a special one, I feel sorry for you because you don’t like football the greatest game on earth. Trust me one day when your future generation will see his magic on you tube, you will proudly feel and will say we saw his magic LIVE. So don’t waste this moment enjoy his magic and wish we can see him for coming years because we are watching the greatest player of all time. Happy Birth Day.

  14. Happy Birthday Leo Messi, the greatest player we have ever seen along with another of our own, Diego Maradona.

    Thanks Roy for writing this post. Much appreciated 🙂 You made my day!

    • take note friend ..the sun is the biggest bullshit tabloid in the uk ….jules rimet trophy ?? really ?? that does not exist anymore

  15. Latest news:

    10 players seem confirmed. The only one that is in doubt is Salvio or Mercado for right back. Rojo is back to start.

    (4-4-2)
    Armeni; Salvio/Mercado, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico; Mascherano, Banega, Perez, Di Maria; Messi, Higuain.

    • Jesus christ what a joke! try the same s**t and expect different results!! Does Sampaoli, messi and his buddies honesty think that trying the same crap will reap different results especially since they’ve exhibited ZERO fighting spirit?

      Fazio, Ansaldi, Celso, Pavon, Dybala…………All talented and have something to prove and the latter 3 are still young and it’d be good to get a start and be prepared to carry the team in the future.

      I guess the one and only positive thing to come out of this horrific embarrassing campaign is the fact we don’t have to see ‘the messi generation’ ever again.

      • I am thinking about next WC already. I am happy because Tagliafico is getting chance. Dybala and Pavon got some minutes. Maybe some more minutes we can expect in next match or matches if we through to the second round.
        Lo Celso..! He didn’t even get a single minute to touch the ball in WC.
        Give him some minutes if not giving any start. Let him get experience.
        Next WC is for them. Dybala, Pavon, LoCelso, and Taglifico. They are our hope. Add Icardi, Lautaro, Ascacibar etc. You have a good team of young players…!

  16. Did the dumb clown drop Aguero because he talked against him? He was subbed off in a complete mash of a decision. Samp has to start him, not Higuain. He can start both of them as well, but Aguero, Messi, Dybala and Le Celso are essential. I have no idea why he cant fit them together. Its not like he’s fit the others in a unmovable team combination. Real retard we have in our sleeve here.
    He could go
    GK, LB,CB,CB,RB, Masch, Le Celso Dybala,Di Maria,Aguero, Messi. This will surely perform better than any other combination.

    • Among the defenders, I think all are trial and error except maybe Otamendi and if possibly the other GKs are better, then replace W Cab. Especially, because we have not had a fixed defensive partnership yet. The team has to outscore Nigeria unfortunately and cant rely on defence.

    • I think starting Higuain is a tactical ploy. He may not be as deadly of a scorer like Aguero but the guy hustles and has a better connection with Messi. He’s a much better passer and he can press well assuming the plan is to open up the game so Messi could operate and cause damage. It is no coincidence that Messi scores more with Higuain in the starting lineup (vs Aguero). I would replace Enzo with Lo Celso and Pavon for DiMaria.. Who knows, the last time DiMaria’s spot was in danger at REAL, he played out of his mind to regain so we shall see.

      My only concern is Croatia not fielding a decent enough team to play vs Iceland.

  17. What can you say? The guy has won everything with his club.

    Happy birthday. Wish even better success in the years to come, also with Argentina.

    But in any case, the NT is above anyone…coaches, players, the AFA….ANYONE.
    And this should include Messi. The image of him rubbing his forhead before the match against Croatia, like he has a headache is very characteristic. For some reason, our best player has a psycological issue when playing with the NT. Honestly, in the last match, it seemed that it would be better to replace him, because he was so absent that he was taking one posistion on the pitch for nothing.
    If he can play that’s really really great. We have seen he can do things noone else can. But if he cannot, the team matters most. And especially at this point we can win without him.

    • He had headache looking at the team formation and team mates.

      Regarding his performance, what did you expect from him as the second striker in 3-5-2? He even dropped back to defend during Rakitic’s goal. Everyone except Messi, Higuain & Dybala were supposed to be there, but how many were there? Don’t expect Barcelonesque performance from him at NT when his team mates can’t pass the ball to him.

      He was very poor as a leader in that match, but not as a player.

  18. Argentina has 2 major problem atm..

    – Because of Sampoli’s too much experipements, too many changes for players and formation, coordination among the players are clearly missing on the field. So in short Argentina is not settled as a team.
    – Now we are relaying on our old players, who are playing together for years, to play as a team and bail us against Nigeria and secure spot for next round. But can we relay on those old players? Who will guarantee that these oldies will beat Nigeria and seal our place in round of 16. Even if we qualify, how far we can go with this team?

    I really thought Sampoli will do what Tite did. What tite did was Simple, took the team Dunga left and work on weak areas and worked to include all the best players together. Willain was never a starter but now he is. Neymar and Coutinho were struggling to play together as their playing position are almost same but that issue is now gone. In midfield there were players like Gustavo etc etc but now they have a better midfielders are around.

    Similarly when Sampoli came almost immediately he introduced Pardes, Lo Celso, I was really happy not because Celso or Pardes was great but because I expected finally there will be some changes in the midfield. Lo Celso was in his plan in all the friendly matches before WC even in training but just 6 days before WC he dropped. Then why to invest that much time on him?

    Same with Dybala. Dybala started as a starter in his first 2 matches then he said ‘I am struggling to adopt with Messi as we play in the same position’ and then he dropped. Sampoli’s excuse was he will work on Messi- Dybala after WCQs but after that Dybala was not even selected for NT in any of the matches before WC. Who is responsible for that? If Sampoli can use Neymar, Coutinho together why not Messi and Dybala?

    However I don’t want to blame Sampoli alone for this. What Messi is doing? Is he doing enough what is expected from a leader? 1 and half matches I saw a dejected, less-interested, less-motivated Messi on the field. Such a lame attitude. When your leader is down, it bound to effect your team. If Messi is casual, it’s obvious other players will be casual. If team is not doing well or if Messi is not happy with the team selection, why not he is raising his voice? If he is raising his voice and then we playing with this team (which is revealed as of now) then also there is huge problem.

    • Perfectly said and well timed. Thank you Roy and thank you Messi.
      I just rewatched highlights yesterday of 2014 final (masachist guess ) but even though that Higuaín unbelievable miss CRUSHED our dreams and gave me never ending pain, it was Messi and this always beautiful,though flawed team that gives us such a beautiful cause to believe in and experience..no matter how much pain it brings.

  19. Whatever the outcome tomorrow night, I want the team to put up a fight. They have played 18 matches, traveled well over a hundred thousand kilometers and put in a lot of effort to get here. After the Croatia debacle we thought it was over, but the Nigeria win over Iceland gave us a lifeline. This is a last in a lifetime chance for the majority of the players. The least they can do is try to win it with everything they got. If we draw or lose and they are not exhausted from all the energy they put in, they will blame themselves for the rest of their careers. They owe it to themselves, to the fans who saved money for years to travel to Russia and for the prestige of the country and shirt.

    • If Nigeria scores one or two or even three in the first half, don’t give up till the end. This should be the mentality. Outscore them anyhow. If the players are determined they can do it easily.

    • Yes.
      He committed suicide.
      Fan of Argentina and Messi.
      May his soul rest in peace.
      Argentina has world wide fans.

    • Well, another one committed suicide in Bangladesh. But who cares? If you’re not man enough to accept defeat in your life and pick yourself up the next day, then better get the hell out of this world. No sympathy to those who has no responsibility towards their family.

  20. Dybala has to take Messi’s position and higuin as striker
    Messi to attacking midfielder who has to stay connected with the midfeild through out the match and be part of counter attacking football
    Play 3 specialist midfielder
    And play football in midfeild
    Last 4 and keeper are going to be same or less
    Now this team can’t lose
    Will gain confidence by the match and well equipped to score and defend
    Any other team
    And we shall lose

  21. Happy Budday LM10 !!! And THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING !!!
    For every thankless idiot , there will be thousands of us who would vouch their lives on you.

  22. I believe the croatians as people are proud and I don’t see that they are going to lose against Iceland deliberately, just to make Argentina exit this WC. That makes no sense. They may field their reserves and perhaps even lose, but not with intention. Thus whether or not Argentina will make it to the next round will depend on themselves. I hope they will grasp this chance in the best way. I’d like to see Argentina play as Colombia of yesterday in 2022, with passion. Hopefully with Messi. And finally bring the cup to Argentina.

  23. As a fan the last week was tough, a rollercoster, from the nadir of loosing to the hope after Nigeria winning.
    To be In a position of absolute hopelessness to getting a lifeline.

    Just imagine what the team actually feels. This is exactly the tonic they needed. They must have felt the exact same just in much greater Intensity. A second chance, that maybe we didn’t derserve….but it’s here. Devine intervention?? Call it what you want but it’s here……

    My heart tells me this opporthnity will be taken, and MESSI will show up tomorrow with his supporting cast.

    Arg 3-1
    Nigeria are to disorganized to be consistent, they had their one good game, the euphoria has got to them, they will feel like world beaters and that will be their downfall.

    Iceland vs Croatia, despite Croatia playing a second string team those fringe players will try to make a case. I don’t see a winner here. 0-0 vs 1-1.

    God willingly we live another day, fight another round. God bless ARGENTINA!!

  24. It will not be easy for Croatia to score against Iceland the way they did against inferior Argentina.
    What I feel is Iceland will win by 1-0 at the end.
    But Argentina will concede at least 6 goals though Argentina will score 1. May be penalty or free kick. So it looks like 6-1disaster for Argentina. Nigeria will play with passion and quality at their best ever. But on the other hand Argentina can’t.

  25. I think Croatia will play for lose to exit Argentina from world cup,so on 26th Argentina’s fate will depend on Croatia’s hand. If Argentina wins against Nigeria it does not matter,croatia will play according to Argentina vs Nigeria game. It is all about my view.

  26. When Redondo rejected the call up in 1998, everyone said he is a traitor. Now? Everyone misses him. 99 out of 100 Argentines would have him in their line up of all time best starting 11 of Argentina.

    The same with Messi. I can’t believe reading a lot of you want him gone or retired just because of his Croatia performance. I personally was extremely happy when he said regardless of what Argentina achieve, he will not retire. For me someone like him needs to play until there is no juice left. This is guy is a legend.

    I personally don’t believe Messi is that bad. The one against Croatia was not him. He won’t play 3 consecutive bad games in a row. The players already consulted with Sampaoli which players to start, and they got their wish. No reason for Messi to be upset before the game.

    The latest news:
    1 position is in doubt: Salvio’s place as the right back. It is between Mercado and him. If Mercado wins that spot then Rojo will partner Otamendi in the center.

    1 other position is not completely secured either: It is between Enzo Perez and Cristian Pavon. But the former has the edge to start.

    If you ask me, I prefer Mercado instead of Salvio and Pavon instead of Perez, but it seems unlikely.

  27. Happy birthday Leo, you are the best you will always be, the world knows that. If Tuesday you score and the team win everybody will say you are the best, people expectations are so high when it comes to you in a game, sometimes they forgot if you human, even opponents know what you capable of doing, they attack you with 5,6 players around you that’s how much they scared of your ability. I believe in you and I know you are going to turn this around and even if you don’t you’ll still be the best to me, may God bless you and God be with you. Once again happy birthday goat 🐐.

  28. ‘African players are tough. They are used to running. If their ancestors didn’t run they were eaten by lions.’ A TV Pública commentator in Argentina has actually just uttered these words on live television. [ Daniel Edwards] SMH

  29. Happy birthday to Lionel messi the best attacker, the best right winger, the best left winger, the best attacking midfielder. I am grateful to god for living in messi era.

  30. Happy birthday Messi
    My favourite sportsman
    Even in these two matches
    When u touched football
    We looked different team
    The ball had electricity even for a brief time may be
    That’s why I love u
    All the best

  31. Happy Birthday Leo. As always, you will be special for us. No matter what happens against Nigeria, you will be loved by all the people who understand football.

  32. How everything has been setting up for Argentina’s success! We should have been done by now, be we got handed a gift. Not a draw but Nigeria BEATING Iceland to give us hope! Not even Portugal could beat Iceland in the group stage but Nigeria did just to give us a chance!
    It’ll be a shame to crush their dreams, but they should have killed us when we were down! Now the veterans will show the youth how it’s done!
    And France in the round of 16! Like Germany were not impressive in the group stages but suddenly gave their fans reason to believe after beating France, I think it’ll be the same for Argentina. NOBODY believes in Argentina, but if, and only IF, Argentina get to the round of 16 and beat France, then ppl can start dreaming again!
    Vamos Argentina! Vamos Messi, this is your year!!!

    Armani
    Mercado-Fazio-Otamendi-Tagliafico
    Di Maria-Mascherano-Banega
    Messi-Aguero-Dybala

    Better Caballero mess up against Croatia so that he’s out of the way in a Crucial Game (and possibly the rest of the World Cup)!!!! NOW we got a better keeper, and with the right selection of the back 4, and with Mascherano playing DM and midfielders that track back like Banega or Lo Celso or Di Maria, it’ll be harder for us to concede! Against Nigeria, Spain, Croatia, all of those games Romero didn’t play (at least the full 90). With a decent keeper, I think we have a shot!!!!! I think Dybala might play finally and we’ll see MAD, as Sampaoli seems to be done with Meza.
    Acuña, Salvio, Biglia, Enzo, Meza, Caballero – Never wear the Argentina Jersey again!!!!

    Messi’s dream might be a reality! Everything is being worked towards it. Argentina have been gifted a lifeline, WHO else could say that?
    Vamos Argentina!!!!

  33. Best wishes to Messi!!

    Roy thanks for the well thought out article. All of us get to know the importance of someone or something when they go missing from our life. This happened when Messi was out of the national team in the world cup qualifiers. We had a success rate of around 10%. Inspite of that I see folks here wanting Messi to be benched. They for sure cannot be a football fan, forget being an Argentina fan. When you watch someone special learn to enjoy the moment. When Maradona retired there was a significant vacuum in football. People who were football fans during those times will really know what we missed when Maradona retired. I was one who wanted Maradona to play in even a friendly match to just watch him weave his magic. During those days we had very limited information and TV coverage.

    Today in the world of information and constant media attention it becomes 100x times more difficult for any player to live peacefully and perform. Unfortunately Messi has set such a high standard that no team wants to play good football against the teams he plays in. Park the bus has become the norm. To overcome this strategy you need a team, great understanding between the midfield and attackers and top of all quick football. Just pause for a moment and look at what is happening with the current team. The answer is right there. Add to this a clueless coach, bankrupt FA, insensible media and on top insatiable and irate fans, we have Argentina. Everyone can have an opinion except maybe Messi and Mascherano. When Messi is unable to push Sampaoli on a formation, we are talking about him picking the team of friends

    Anyway time will let us the fans realize that the team has really achieved something, which is reaching three finals. Had Palacio scored the sitter instead of Gotze, Messi would have lifted the world cup. The same fans that are against him now would have told we played bad football and did not deserve the cup. The current generation of Argentine supporters are jaundiced and only time will cure them of their misconceptions and media influenced thought process.

    Learn to enjoy one of the greatest ever if you love football. For me football comes first, Argentina next and players after that.

  34. Dear Messi,
    You stand alone at the pinnacle of the game for there is no place for two at the top. The highest step in the pyramid we the ‘fans’ have built for the pantheon of football gods.

    Gods who are misunderstood and often maligned only because men do not understand them. Gods are not trained to be gods, they are born that way and will remain gods for they cannot un-become one.

    But us men who praise you, really expect you to owe a false debt to us in return for our fandom. We curse you as you stand there in front of us, absorbing the shame as the weight of 300 million fans across the globe drive you into the manicured turf because gods cannot fail…right? Right?

    Well, gods do not fail, they fall and show us men how to take it…
    for what is God but a place where mortals deposit their faith and expect a miracle in return.
    In the world of soccer you Lionel Messi, are a GOD and we patiently wait for a miracle – very HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU !!

  35. Trust me just trust me…the moment he decides to shave his beard his bad luck will go and cup will come to Argentina…this fucin beard has caused all the bad luck to him starting with Copa centenario 2016.. why he doesn’t shave it man… someone plz just send my message to him…

  36. Happy Birthday King Leo, Football are blessed to have a wonderful player like Messi. Rare genius and humble player which become a role model to every young kids who loved football.

    Unfortunately Arg failed to build a good team around him, if only IF he was born in Spain or Brazil definitely he have already got 2 World Cup glory. But again don’t downgrade Messi for not winning the WC. Enjoying such a great footballer is more than just a trophy. Kudos. we love you

    God bless him and his family.

  37. Happy Birthday to the best in history!! All I want is for him to be happy. No matter what I’m rooting for him and Argentina. Good luck Argentina.

  38. Negatives and Positives are part of the game and forum..It should both be around..

    Argentina can only win if everyone play as a team and show some originality..all i see is they are trying to pass to Messi and if they cannot..then they don’t know what to do…

    Just take the pressure of Messi and see if Di Maria or Aguero or someone can take more ownership and go towards the goal..

    whatever team we have is we have…no point talking about players outside the 23.

  39. The guy isn’t dead, no need to to write an obituary like article about him, lol.

    We should never attach ourselves to players. I never cried when Maradona retired, Batistuta or even as a bostero, Riquelme. The shirt lives on, players come and go but the shirt is eternal. The only tears I have is when my country falls short, not because a player falls short. Time standstill for no man, but again, the shirt is eternal.

    • Hahaha, Jack, I know he’s not dead. Just felt like writing something and it was meant more to give out more of a positive vibe than anything. Reading lots of articles and comments everywhere and everyone just seems to be attacking him and the team. I understand part of the criticism but it’s too much at times.

        • Happy Birth Day Messi. I thought Messi is the best in World.

          But I am wrong.

          Because in this group there are Many football genius!!!!. They do know better football then the team.

          And I am surprised, why are they wasting time here in this group. Better go to the field and play as you people want messi to retire!!!!!

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