by BERNAMA / pic by TMR FILE
KUALA LUMPUR – On Sunday, the Argentine National Football team was crowned champion of the Copa America, a tournament that brings together all the countries of South America. It was 28 years since Argentina had won his last important title, having lost several finals – the most unforgettable being that of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, against Germany.
Until Sunday, Lionel Messi (picture), Argentina’s best player and captain, had not been able to win a major title with his country.
On the other hand, Leo Messi has won everything with FC Barcelona: 4 European Cups, 10 Leagues and 6 King’s Cups, among other titles. The Argentine has put Barca on the map of the greatest teams in the world with his 650 goals.
Often considered the best player in the world, Messi is the only footballer in history to have won, among other distinctions, the FIFA Golden Ball six times – the first four consecutively; in addition to receiving six Golden Boots, a FIFA World Player, and The Best FIFA award.
A prolific scorer, he holds, among others, the records for most goals in a season, in a calendar year and in the same club; top scorer in La Liga, the Spanish Super Cup, the European Super Cup, and a non-European player with the most goals in the UEFA Champions League, as well as top scorer for FC Barcelona and the Argentine national team.
As an Argentine international, Messi has represented his country in nine major tournaments. At youth level, he won the 2005 U-20 Football World Cup, a tournament in which he finished as the best player and top scorer, and a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games.
When he was a young boy, in Rosario City in Argentina, he had to overcome a hormonal disease that affected his growth and jeopardised his future as football player, and left for Spain when he was 13 years old. He always suffered from the comparison with his compatriot, Diego Maradona, who won the World Cup in Mexico in 1986 and passed away last year. Not only was he mourned by the Argentinians, but by people all over the globe.
Much criticised in our country for not repeating in the National team the achievements he obtained in his club, time and again he got up and continued to play, in silence, with humility and without resentment.
The Messi star, scorer, winner of titles, is nevertheless overshadowed by what he is as a person. Humble, hard-working, respectful and generous, he is an inspiration for the youngsters that approach this or any other sport.
Among so many successful and media figures, Messi stands out for speaking with his actions and his gestures. On Sunday, he was finally able to fulfill his dream of raising a Cup with his national team and simply said: “I never stopped trying; I knew that this moment was going to come one day”.
This is an article by Argentina’s Ambassador to Malaysia Manuel Balaguer Salas