Jul 12, 2014, 2:35 PM EDT
Lionel Messi is used to facing criticism when he pulls on the Argentina shirt, often being accused of not being able to replicate his Barcelona form when playing for his country.
He must have thought he’d finally escaped these critics. After all, it was through Messi — almost single-handedly — that Argentina made it through to the knockout stages. It was Messi’s pass that set up Ángel di María for the late winner against Switzerland, putting the albiceleste into the quarterfinals.
But in the last two rounds, Messi has failed to score or assist. So naturally, the critics are back. And they’re likely taking their toll on the No. 10, wearing him down.
After a recent conversation with his son, Messi’s father Jorge told Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo that he is suffering from extreme fatigue. “Leo said it looked like his legs weighed 100 kilos. He was very tired,” he said.
Someone should ask Messi whether his shoulders ache as well. After all, the slight forward is carrying not just his team, but the weight of a country’s expectations. Should Argentina fail to win on Sunday night, much of the blame will be piled on him.
However, should Messi be lifting the trophy at the end of all this, past criticism will be forgotten. He will truly be an Argentine hero, capable of taking his place alongside Diego Maradona. At that point, you can bet that he’ll forget all about the weight of his legs or how exhausted he felt going into the final match.
Jun 29, 2015, 7:04 PM EDT
It’s No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the world, but it’s only a semifinal.
Jun 29, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT
By the end of tonight, either Chile or Peru will have booked their place in the final.
Jun 29, 2015, 5:10 PM EDT
A goal and an assist — finally a dominant performance — in the weekend’s biggest rivalry game earns Darlington Nagbe POTW honors.
Jun 29, 2015, 4:27 PM EDT
“Rivalry Week” is in the books, and a number of derby day conquerors find themselves on the last MLS Team of the Week.
Jun 29, 2015, 3:21 PM EDT
Rog talks with the USWNT’s Meghan Klingenberg about the team’s lockdown defense, her karate training, and living with Jeff Van Gundy’s family.
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup fifth round preview: Cosmos look to do MLS’ N.Y. double, Charlotte hits Chicago
Jun 29, 2015, 3:07 PM EDT
Here’s what’s on tap for Tuesday and Wednesday as the USSF tournament stays regional.
Jun 29, 2015, 2:23 PM EDT
Toronto FC and L.A. will kick off at 10:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. The Galaxy have won two of their last three matches.
Jun 29, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT
You think gossip’s going to take a Monday off? Pssh, please.
Jun 29, 2015, 12:52 PM EDT
Guangzhou Evergrande have added a big name to their title charge in the Chinese Super League.
Jun 29, 2015, 11:39 AM EDT
Many if not all neutral fans expect Argentina and Chile to make it through their Copa America semifinals en route to a border battle final.
Jun 29, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT
That picture is weird, but we’ll get used to it once the Premier League season begins in August.
Jun 29, 2015, 10:06 AM EDT
Less talking, more ranking. Feel free to debate in the comments section.
Jun 29, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT
FIFA’s weather-related move of the 2022 World Cup from to November-December has its first legal challenge.
Jun 29, 2015, 7:57 AM EDT
Could women’s football in England be en route to a Brandi Chastain moment of their own?
Jun 28, 2015, 11:37 PM EDT
Some vacationing footballers enjoying a bit of head-tennis
Jun 28, 2015, 9:54 PM EDT
Final: Timbers 4-1 Sounders
Jun 28, 2015, 8:47 PM EDT
Nathaniel Clyne has basically sealed a move to Liverpool.
Jun 28, 2015, 8:31 PM EDT
Krieger is fluent in German and familiar with Tuesday’s semifinal opponent.
Jun 28, 2015, 7:37 PM EDT
Final: NYC 1-3 NYRB
Jun 28, 2015, 6:46 PM EDT
AZ Alkmaar forward Aron Johannsson wants to switch to MLS in the prime of his career.
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