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Messi cries for Argentina

Everything Leo Messi touches with Barcelona turns to gold, but silverware just keeps eluding him with Argentina. The star could not hold back the tears after the Copa América final. It is a case of another year, another bout of international heartbreak for the forward. And this time the defeat was even more gutting, with the game decided not in extra time, as in the World Cup in Brazil, but on the cruel lottery of penalties.

Messi converted his spot-kick, but misses from Gonzalo Higuaín and Éver Banega sealed another tale of woe for the Barça legend, the only man who managed to beat Claudio Bravo from 12 yards. Who knows whether the 28-year-old will ever get the monkey off his back? He has now lost three finals with Argentina, having also been a runner-up at the 2007 Copa América.

Missing in action again
The final in Santiago will only provide further ammunition for the critics. Like last year in Rio, Messi failed to turn up. The penalty was about the sum of his contributions. The ‘Albiceleste’ looked for him all night, but Jorge Sampaoli’s plan to nullify him worked wonders. A whole regiment hounded him all game long, headed by Mr Pitbull himself, Gary Medel, from whom Messi got a kick in the chest for his troubles.

Despite a stellar semi-final performance, history will show that this was not Messi’s tournament. He scored just once in normal time and even then it was another penalty, in Argentina’s opening group-stage match against Paraguay. This is a paltry return from a man who is vying to be considered the best ever.

Messi’s joy at Barcelona turns to dust with Argentina. His only international titles are the 2005 Under-20 World Cup and a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. Both the Copa América and the big one, the World Cup, have slipped through his fingers in heart-rending fashion. Once again, he will have to wait for another chance… and it could very well be his last.

From : Marca.com