Argentina forward Lionel Messi has been banned from his next four competitive internationals for swearing at a match official during a match against Chile last week, the first one being Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier in Bolivia which his team lost by 2-0.
La Albiceleste dropped from 3rd to 5th position in the standings following their unexpected loss in Russia as Colombia and Chile won their respective games. This is a big blow in their quest to secure a berth in the 2018 FIFA World Cup as there are still four qualifier games left for Argentina and Lionel Messi will play only the last one. The Messi-Less two-times world champions will have to face Uruguay, Venezuela, and Peru as the striker won’t be available to play until the game against Ecuador on October 10th.
In many ways, Messi has become the rebel leader that Argentina always wanted to have after Diego Maradona but there are some who miss the boy next door, the mild-mannered collector of World Player of the Year awards and the one who only offended fashion fanatics.
The transition from a malnourished teenager to the boy next door to a five-time Ballon d’Or winner and now the one making headlines for his expletives aimed at match officials have been the one to witness.
Watch Lionel Messi saying La concha de tu madre, which literally translates into “your mother’s c***”.
We haven’t seen much of the angrier side of the Barcelona striker in the past and Cristiano Ronaldo has been the one covering up the shortage. But it’s done now, Argentina got what they wanted. They brought back Lionel Messi from International retirement in order to give him a deserving farewell, but it isn’t going the way they expected.
This might be the last chance for Lionel Messi to take his team to the another World Cup title but the fact that Argentina has struggled to perform in his absence means they will struggle to reach even past the qualifiers.
Edgardo Bauza’s side has won only 1 out of the 7 games without their talisman, highlighting the overdependence on arguably the World’s best player.
83% – Argentina have won 83% (5/6) of their 2018 World Cup qualifiers with Messi, only 14% without him (1/7). Suspended.
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) March 28, 2017
— OptaJavier (@OptaJavier) March 28, 2017
The only hope that La Albiceleste have is with the enviable array of attacking talent consisting of Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Paulo Dybala, who are expected to step up in Messi’s absence.