Classifieds | Archives | Jobs | About TGT | Contact | Subscribe
Last updated 53 minutes ago
Printer Friendly Version | TGT@Twitter | RSS Feed |
Messi finally conjured up his goal scoring magic for Argentina in 2012
November 18, 2012
 Print    Send to Friend

BUENOS AIRES: Lionel Messi’s season has ended with Argentina’s national team. It’s been quite a run.

Messi’s transformation in 2012 was remarkable. The man who couldn’t score for his country suddenly equaled Gabriel Batistuta’s 1998 record of 12 goals in a year. Messi needed only nine games, while Batistuta had 12.

Messi has always scored for Barcelona, but he only began to deliver for Argentina this year. Between March 2009 and October 2011, he failed to find the net in 16 matches: seven World Cup qualifiers, five at the World Cup, and four in Copa America, the continental championship.

The criticism was unrelenting, with reports suggesting he was either unpatriotic or unable to handle the enormous pressure placed on him in football-mad Argentina.

Messi has clicked with Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella, who took over 15 months ago after Sergio Batista was fired following the team’s quarterfinal exit at Copa America.

“Messi is capable of breaking all the records, as incredible as that seems,” Sabella said.

“For a player like Messi, with his physical talent, football knowledge, technical ability and his head everything is possible.”

Messi was overwhelming in 2012, pushing his career total for Argentina to 31 goals. He trails Diego Maradona by three. Next in line is Hernan Crespo with 50 and Batistuta with 56. It’s possible perhaps unlikely, but this is Messi that he could break all of those records as soon as the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Messi made it clear when Sabella took over that he wanted to play with two forwards in front of him: Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain. Sabella obliged, and the player known as “La Pulga” (The Flea) delivered.

In a season of many highlights for Argentina, the apex was a 3-0 victory over Uruguay, the defending South American champion, in World Cup qualifying last month. Messi scored two goals and received repeated, thunderous ovations from a sellout crowd in the western city of Mendoza.

The year was also marked by the birth of Messi’s first child, Thiago, born Nov. 2 to his girlfriend Antonella Rocuzzo.

The low point probably came a few days ago in Argentina’s 0-0 draw against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh. Messi played poorly, as did his teammates.

Associated Press

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Post a comment
Related Stories
Nobody is irreplaceable, says Bayern chief
MUNICH: Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge stressed on Thursday that “no-one is irreplaceable”, ahead of a decision on the future of club coach Pep Guardiola. ..
MLS is tougher than Premier League, says Drogba
LONDON: Major League Soccer (MLS) offers a tougher challenge than the English Premier League and will soon be one of the best domestic competitions in world football, acc..
Morrison leaves Lazio, returns to England: Report
Rome: Lazio midfielder Ravel Morrison could be on the verge of quitting the Serie A club after leaving their training ground to return to England, reports in Italy claime..
Flamini certain he can fill Coquelin’s boots at Arsenal
London: Midfielder Mathieu Flamini is confident he can help Arsenal overcome injuries to Francis Coquelin and Mikel Arteta and thinks an extended run in the side will see..
After CL disaster Lyon focus on domestic League
Paris: Lyon face Montpellier in Ligue 1 on Friday badly in need of a quick fix after being bundled out of the Champions League by Gent in midweek. The Belgian visitors..
Advertise | Copyright