Argentines Pray That Messi Will Maintain His Level Of Play In The World Cup
By Dialogo April 09, 2010Argentine fans are reacting with devotion to star Lionel Messi’s superlative current play for Spanish team FC Barcelona, but they are praying that he will maintain the same level when he plays in the 2010 South African World Cup for the national team in white and sky blue, with which his performance has been uneven. “Why won’t he play like this with the national team?” said a customer in a Buenos Aires bar, after watching on television the four goals the ‘Fly’ scored Wednesday in FC Barcelona’s high-scoring 4-1 victory over Arsenal, from England, qualifying the Catalan team for the semifinals of the European Champions League. The question is being repeated thousands of times among the fans who, amazed, grew tired of watching the innumerable repetitions of the goals Messi scored Tuesday on all the television channels, not only the sports ones. Messi, barely twenty-two years old and considered the best soccer player in the world, left even the local reporters openmouthed, despite their criticism of him for his failure as yet to bring his showy and effective play to the national team, coached by Diego Maradona. There are too many theories to count about his poor performance on the white-and-sky-blue squad, but one prevailing one is that Maradona’s status intimidates the reserved Argentine forward. Another is that on his club team he is the axis of a well-oiled machine of players with ‘good feet’, while the national team, which struggled to qualify for the World Cup, still has not found a style of play to match the level of its roster. But Argentines are hoping that Messi will explode in South Africa, where he will surely form a formidable offensive duo with Gonzalo Higuaín, Real Madrid’s leading scorer. Speaking in a radio interview, Maradona confirmed his confidence in the forward Wednesday and affirmed that “he’s playing a bit of soccer with Jesus right now.” “I will be very happy if Leo wins the World Cup and becomes the best in history. He’s at a level that very few people get to. He’s playing a bit of soccer with Jesus today, and he’s being the best in the world with four goals in one match,” the coach told the FM Metro radio station.