Alejandro Sabella has begun to turn Argentina into his team, naming Lionel Messi his captain. Javier Mascherano has worn the armband since 2008, but as soon as Sabella was introduced as the team’s new manager just a few weeks ago, he announced that he would look for a new captain. That new captain is Messi, which is a strange choice considering his complete inability to play well for the Albiceleste.
Saying Messi is terrible for Argentina is easy and lazy. It’s also popular. The truth is that Messi has been very near brilliant for the Albiceleste in recent years, but Argentina haven’t won like people wanted them to. Naturally, people blame Messi for Argentina’s failures, even if he has played well. Blaming incompetent managing, team infighting or any number of other things that are more accurate just isn’t as easy as blaming the world’s best player, even if he’s playing well for the team.
Now that Messi is the Argentina captain he will only face more criticism for any of the team’s failures. The team starts World Cup qualifying in October so the pressure will be on him before long. Now he’s captain so simply playing exceptionally isn’t enough for the fans. Not that it was before anyways.