Lionel Messi has had a torrid Copa America campaign so far, with his only goal coming from the penalty spot against Paraguay in a group stage tie.
Messi believes his performance is not up to standard and blames it on the pitch. Messi is indirectly blaming his poor performance on the host nation, Brazil, for having an "awful" pitch. He poured out his frustration on a journalist in an interview after their 2-0 victory over Venezuela in the quarterfinal on Friday night.
"I am not having my best Copa America. In truth, the pitches are shameful. It is hard to control the ball and carry it. The ball looked like a rabbit, it goes all over the place with this pitch. All we can do is adapt.
"The pitches are awful. That doesn't help keep possession, you need a second longer, it bounces poorly, you cannot lead but we played a complete game and we were able to win," Messi said.
Argentina last won the Copa America in 1993, with Gabriel Batituista and Maradona at the helm of the attack for Argentina. Messi was around 6 years old then and the 32-year-old is almost in the climax of his career. Yet, he has had no international trophy with the Argentine national team. He has had previous exploits where he lost back to back at the Copa America in 2015 and 2017 to Chile and at the 2014 World Cup Finals where his Argentine led side lost to Germany in the finals through an extra time goal from Mario Gotze.
Coincidentally, Lionel Messi and his Albiceleste led team would face off with host nation, the Selecao of Brazil, at the semi-finals on Tuesday. Will Messi defeat the Samba boys and go on to win his first international trophy for Argentina’s national team or would he falter and again be criticized by the Argentines as a Barcelona-man?