‘Football will be unfair if Messi doesn’t win a World Cup’

A reality n which Lionel Messi has not lifted the World Cup would be an ‘unfair’ one. This is according to Argentina goalkeeper Oscar Ustari, who believes it would be just for his fellow-Argentian to enjoy World Cup success before his career is over.

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The Barcelona frontman has struggled to replicate the same level of success he’s enjoyed at club level with his country. He has fallen short of the mark of silverware on several occasions with La Albiceleste, notably, with Argentina finishing as runners-up at the 2014 World Cup and consecutive Copa America tournaments in 2015 and 2016. Messi’s Argentina then had to settle for third place at the 2019 Copa America.

Football: While Argentina make progress, Messi toils at Copa | The ...
Lionel Messi in action at Copa America 2019 in Brazil, where Argentina placed third after edging Chile in the 3rd/ 4th place play-off (Image: Reuters).

I have no doubt that if Messi isn’t world champion, football will be unfair,” said Ustari, who played alongside Messi at the 2008 Olympics when Argentina tasted rare success with a gold medal. “Doubting Messi is nonsense! Things can go well or not, but I can tell you that I have seen him crying like a child because of what was happening in the national team.”

Ustari recalled one such time that the modern-day great was inconsolable off the back of falling short at the continental showpiece. “I remember that in the 2011 Copa America, I was recovering from [a knee injury] and, when they lost, I went to see Messi at the Ezeiza [Partido] venue (Buenos Aires) and I saw him as I had never seen him before – devastated.” 

If Lionel Messi doesn't win the World Cup, football will be unfair ...
Regarded as one of the greatest footballers in history, Messi winning a major honour at international level would undoubtedly state a strong case as to the validity of this case (Image: Getty Images).

Former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino also recently aired his hopes that Messi can guide Argentina to a World Cup triumph, while also revealing his dream of coaching Messi at Newell’s Old Boys, the striker’s boyhood club back in his home country. 

[The World Cup is] a huge goal for Messi and for the Argentine team. I hope he arrives at a great moment,” said Pochettino. His presence will be a recognition of the generation that deserved something more. Argentina is going to arrive well to fight for the World Cup.”