You would think the Argentina technical bench would have learned their lesson by now after the 2010 world cup with regard to Lionel Messi but apparently not.
The biggest question mark about Lionel Messi has and continues to be his sub prime performances for the national team.
When he plays for Barcelona, he is a maestro, an untouchable genius but when he plays for Argentina, not so much.
Of course that can be attributed to the other geniuses at Barcelona namely Xavi and Iniesta who are the heart and soul of the Barca way; it is they who make it easy for Messi to shine as he does for Barca.
In four games at the Copa America, Messi contributed little leaving the tournament without a goal and with three assists two of them in the 4-2 win in the final group game. Four games without a goal is not something we expect from Messi.
Argentina tried imitating the Barcelona 4-3-3 system to bring the best of Messi in their first game of the tournament and it was awful - it just did not work at all and after two draws in their first two games, they had to change it.
The thing is, Argentina is not short on talent; they have one of the most talented forward lines with Diego Milito, Ezequel Lavezzi, Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero all up for selection in addition to Messi.
I agree with the idea that Argentina should stop trying to play around Messi and build a system of in which he is a player and not the entire system.
A system than can incorporate the talents of Javier Pastore one of the best play makers in the world at the moment and the wide of play of Angel Di Maria or the ability of Tevez and Aguero to drop deep and help build the attack.
This might mean making Messi play wide either on the right or left but it is definitely a better approach than trying to make Messi the entire system when it is clearly not working.
Messi, unlike Cristiano Ronaldo who is a one man goal scoring machine, plays best in a system with the right amount of support and while Argentina may have failed at recreating the Barca system that suits the striker so well, they can create one that suits their entire squad and make him a part of it and then maybe they will have some success.
In fairness to Argentina, the level of competition at Copa 2011 is remarkable; the likes of Uruguay who knocked out Argentina and will play in the final this evening, Peru and Venzuela who knocked out Brazil, may not be much fancied but they have shown great tenacity and spirit to go toe to toe with the best and come out on top.
Brazil, like Argentina also struggled at this year’s tournament although Neymar showed enough to suggest that Brazil’s future is a bright one particularly with him and Pato spearheading the attack.
Rumour has it Neymar has decided to stay in Brazil for another season or half season before going to Real Madrid but when and if he does arrive at Madrid, the young striker has the potential to be the eventual successor to Ronaldo.
Ganso the other highly talked about talent from Brazil was not imperious enough to match his hype but he did have some good touches and perhaps he showed enough to convince his European suitors, reportedly AC Milan and Manchester United, to make a move for the playmaker.
Lastly Alexis Sanchez is finally headed to Barcelona and that leaves only one transfer target for Barcelona, Cecs Fabreags and rumour has it Guardiola wants the deal done before the end of this week.