It’s not about points this time. It is not necessary to play the leaderboard on the last dates of the Qualifiers, which were approved with ease. Nor is it a very final, like the one won convincingly against Italy at Wembley a couple of months ago. It’s a friendly match against a small rival, Honduras, but for the Argentine national team’s 10, this Friday’s meeting at the packed Hard Rock Stadium in Miami has a similar motivational charge to all the previous ones.
It is that there is no more time, the Scaloneta is disputing the last tests before the World Cup and, beyond the fact that the game does not contain added value, the carrot of Qatar 2022 gives it the right seasoning so that this Lionel Messi who is The planets lined up after a first year in Paris with setbacks, now jump to the grass dressed back in your country head-on and focus on the final stretch towards November.
This is nothing new, Leo has the Middle East World Cup between his eyebrows. Just see his latest post on Instagram to understand how involved he is. Shortly after being the figure of Paris Saint-Germain in last weekend’s victory against Lyon (he scored the winning goal) he posted: “Important triumph before the matches with the national team”.
Scaloni clarified at the press conference, in case there was any doubt: “He always wants to play and will always play with me unless something happens. It’s a different case from the others. He’s fine and happy. PSG has found it. a way of playing that he understands and we are happy for him.
The national team is a priority for Rosario, without neglecting his responsibility with the ’30’ of the Parisian club, which now finally sees the real Messi. The previous one was not his best season for several reasons that added up and put together a combo that ended up playing against him.
The adaptation was not easy, in football, but more than anything else in everyday life. Leaving the comforts of Barcelona, his home, and moving with his whole family to the French capital, which with his arrival has experienced a real revolution, has violated his privacy and that of his loved ones. Earlier this year he fell victim to covid-19 to prove that Lionel Andrés is just another human being.
The cursed pandemic disease didn’t cure him well at all; On the contrary. He affected his lungs a bit and that left him with some consequences that impacted his performance in those early post-recovery games.
He wasn’t on the pitch. And to top it off, the knockout blow in the Champions League gave the entire PSG squad a slap in the face that turned its back. Who would have thought that Messi an entire stadium or a large part of it would whistle at the best player on the planet? It happened at the Parc des Princes in the first half of the year and obviously it wasn’t pleasant.
However, La Pulga kept the focus: World Cup year. Another, but not another. The fifth of yours and the last? For a matter of age, probably (he would be 39 in 2026). This is why she faced him with an extra motivation, especially from a mental point of view.
He went through the entire preseason and recharged his energy bar in a way that hasn’t happened in a long time. His wife and his children are already used to his new home, something that gives him greater calm and emotional stability. And the results are in sight. The boos are no longer heard because his start to the season is devastating. Six goals and eight assists in eight games accumulated so far in Paris. Physically and from a footballing point of view, he was once again the magician of Catalonia.
Criticism is now praise. The sports newspaper L’Equipe has included it five times team of the week so far in the second half. Christophe Galtier’s way of playing winks at Messi. The 5-2-3 gives him freedom, he has taken off his corset and can manage the team with a structure behind him that supports him and gives him security. Something similar had been happening to him for some time now in the National Lionel Scaloni.
Leo met with his fellow Albicelesti, here on American soil, between smiles and hugs, but with the seriousness of knowing what is at stake. Because the friendly match against Honduras and Tuesday’s match against Jamaica (in New Jersey), for him and for all of Argentina, are already part of the World Cup.
And luckily for the national team and for Lionel himself, the planets have lined up for the best in the world and he hopes to reach Doha.
Miami, United States. Special delivery.