The losing streak that Messi ended in the 2021 Copa América

Despite some good moments, Lionel Messi overcame a losing streak of disappointments with his country's jersey. Let's review what they have been .

Leonel Messi with the Copa América 2021

Due to a losing streak of losses, the "ghost" of the Maradona comparison was behind him. Photo: IG-leomessi

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: La racha de derrotas que finalizó Messi en la Copa América 2021

Lionel Messi's career was always quite atypical. He never officially debuted in the league in his country, but directly played his entire career at FC Barcelona. There he garnered a large number of titles, which allowed him to be considered the best player in the world for several years.

However, with his country's jersey he had never been able to fully demonstrate his talent. Due to a losing streak, the "ghost" of the Maradona comparison was behind him .

However, for this 2021 Copa América, where they won against Brazil at Maracana 1-0, he was the top scorer and best player in the tournament, but also broke a record with several disappointments. Let's review it and see his career.

Also read: Copa América: Who has won the most Brazil vs Argentina finals?

Messi's career with the Argentine National Team

It all starts with the 2005 U-20 World Cup, one of the first joys for this striker, who was already emerging as one of the future promises of world football. With a great performance, they beat Brazil 2v1 in the semifinals, while, in the final, they also scored a double against Nigeria.

He was called up for the 2006 World Cup in Germany by DT José Néstor Pékerman, where he became the youngest Argentine player to play it. Due to his inexperience, his role was secondary. He scored just one goal against Serbia and Montenegro, in the group stage. For the quarterfinals, where they were eliminated against Germany, he did not enter from the substitute bench.

It would be different in the 2007 Copa América, where Basile, the new coach, trusted him to have a more leading role. With a wonderful level, his team reached the final against Brazil, where they were defeated 3-0 and the FC Barcelona striker was unable to maintain the same performance as in previous matches .

The 2008 Beijing Olympics would be another story. After a dispute between the AFA and FC Barcelona to let him play that competition, Messi had a great performance. For example, they beat Brazil 3-0 in the semifinal, while in the final, they beat Nigeria 1-0. That is, two instances similar to the 2005 U-20 World Cup. Messi brought the gold medal for his country.

All hopes were pinned on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. With the technical direction of Diego Maradona, Messi was already a consecrated player at the club level, something that gave him a lot of pressure. Although he showed his enormous talent, he did not score goals and his team was defeated in the quarterfinals against Germany, 4-0.

The 2011 Copa América would be played in their own country ... and they would begin to see some signs of wear and tear with the fans. There he did not score goals either, although he was one of the top assistants of the competition. They were left out of the contest in the quarterfinals, when they were beaten on penalties by Uruguay .

For the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the story would be different. Led by Alejandro Sabella, it would mark an excellent group stage. However, in the "heads up" his performance would fall and, despite reaching the final against Germany, he remained at the gates of the title. From that moment, the "ghost" of the runners-up would emerge.

In theory, the rematch should come in the 2015 Copa América . Led by Tata Martino, Messi returned to an excellent level in the previous phases. They reached the final with the idea of overcoming the karma of the previous cup, but were defeated by Chile, in a penalty shootout for the heart attack.

Again, those led by Martino would reach the Copa América Centenario (2016) in the United States. Everyone expected a redemption from the Argentines. Messi's level was superlative, but there was still the final, again against Chile. Again, they were defeated on penalties, something the star could not bear .

After a small impasse, he arrived at the 2018 World Cup in Russia as a true reference. A brood of players remained widely criticized for their previous "failures". Led by Jorge Sampaoli, their level was very low (he only scored one goal) and they left the tournament in the round of 16, after a defeat against France.

For the Copa América 2019 in Brazil, signs of change would already be perceived. With a completely renewed squad led by an inexperienced Lionel Scaloni, he had a good level, not only from the technical point of view, but also from the attitude. Although they were out against Brazil in the semifinals, there was an unprecedented illusion .

Well, all this could be seen in the Copa América 2021, also played in Brazil. After an excellent tournament, where he scored a lot of goals, he reached the final where he did not have a great game ... but his effort and that of his teammates allowed him to break all this negative history.

This "Maracanazo" was historic, as Brazil had not lost the venue for more than 2,500 days. In addition, it had won all the finals of the 21st century, something contrary to Argentina, which had lost them all. Undoubtedly, by breaking the "spell", Messi will be able to give Argentina hope with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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