- Review in pics: Super NaniAamir Khan in Bigg Boss 8Shah Rukh\' Khan\'s fans beaten by police in KanpurHrithik Roshan avoids meeting SussanneSonakdhi Sinha and Arjun Kappor are in love!Aishwarya and Deepika pose for a selfieDeepika Padukone now all set to romance Salman KhanWhy Yo Yo Honey Singh will be out of action for two monthsSRK ignored Salman\'s invitation to attend \'Bigg Boss 8\'See Aishwarya Rai\'s teenage pictures
Roger Federer kept up his hopes of finishing the year as world number one when he downed
Messi delivers for Argentina, at last Last Updated : 17 Nov 2012 01:05:31 PM IST File Photo:Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi's season has ended with Argentina's national team. It's been quite a run.
Messi's transformation in 2012 was remarkable. The man who couldn't score for his country suddenly equaled Gabriel Batistuta's 1998 record of 12 goals in a year. Messi needed only nine games, while Batistuta had 12.
Messi has always scored for Barcelona, but he only began to deliver for Argentina this year. Between March 2009 and October 2011, he failed to find the net in 16 matches: seven World Cup qualifiers, five at the World Cup, and four in Copa America, the continental championship.
The criticism was unrelenting, with reports suggesting he was either unpatriotic or unable to handle the enormous pressure placed on him in football-mad Argentina.
Messi has clicked with Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella, who took over 15 months ago after Sergio Batista was fired following the team's quarterfinal exit at Copa America.
"Messi is capable of breaking all the records, as incredible as that seems," Sabella said. "For a player like Messi, with his physical talent, football knowledge, technical ability -- and his head -- everything is possible."
Messi was overwhelming in 2012, pushing his career total for Argentina to 31 goals. He trails Diego Maradona by three. Next in line is Hernan Crespo with 50 and Batistuta with 56.
It's possible -- perhaps unlikely, but this is Messi -- that he could break all of those records as soon as the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Messi made it clear when Sabella took over that he wantedto play with two forwards in front of him: Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain. Sabella obliged, and the player known as "LaPulga" (The Flea) delivered.
In a season of many highlights for Argentina, the apex was a 3-0 victory over Uruguay, the defending South American champion, in World Cup qualifying last month.
Messi scored two goals and received repeated, thunderous ovations from a sellout crowd in the western city of Mendoza.
The year was also marked by the birth of Messi's first child, Thiago, born November 2 to his girlfriend Antonella Rocuzzo.
The low point probably came a few days ago in Argentina's 0-0 draw against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh. Messi played poorly,as did his teammates.
They looked burned out, and the tone was probably set by Messi's arrival on Monday, when security guards were unable to control the chaos, with one soldier inadvertently pointing the barrel of a rifle at him.
Of course, Messi is also prospering with Barcelona.He has scored 76 goals this calendar year for Barcelona, putting him only nine shy of Gerd Mueller's record set 40years ago. He passed Pele's mark of 75 last weekend."At this point in history there is no longer any difference between what Messi delivers for Barcelona and what he produces for the national team," said Miguel Angel
"With his unequaled play, he has shredded all doubts."
Post Your Comment (0 posted):
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow praised her estranged husband Chris Martin by calling him father o
- What next for Shweta Basu after caught in a sex racket
- When Deepika Padukone dated Upen Patel
- Rang Rasiya’ lauds freedom of expression: Mehta
- Akshay Kumar rocks in 'Ishq Kutta Hai'
- Dev Patel to star with Nicole Kidman in 'Lion'
- Shah Rukh Khan's Happy New Year surpasses 200 Crore Mark Worldwide
- Review in pics: Super Nani
- Aamir Khan in Bigg Boss 8
It is always a subject of debate whether Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO) does exist or n
Handset maker Lava Friday launched a new series of Iris smartphones under the 'Fuel' brand