The attacks by the reporter courted a feisty response from a stoic-looking Messi which stem from the national team’s unimpressive results from the past two years where he’s been the Captain. In that period, Argentina have gone down to Germany with 1-0 in the World Cup final and a loss against Chile in the 2015 Copa America.
Regardless of the fact that Messi is a four-time Ballon d’Or winner, the Barcelona star has long had a toasty relationship with his own country’s football fans. His harshest critics are those who have compared him to Diego Maradona and said that he does not inspire the team the same way Maradona once did.
Pressed on the issue, the number 10 player said that those critics need some perspective.
“I get annoyed when they tell us ‘put in more effort, you don’t feel the shirt’,” Messi said.
“We were lucky enough to get to the final of the World Cup and the Copa America and it’s as though we didn’t do anything.
“We got to two finals, for fuck’s sake. We didn’t win, what can you do, but we got to the final, we didn’t lose in the round of 16.”
In questioning his pride to play for his own country, critics have also accused Messi of not performing with the same enthusiasm as he does for his successful club team, Barcelona. Pressed on why he doesn’t sing the Argentine national anthem before games, Messi said that it’s just his way.
“Football is not just about effort. We had bad times in the national team for what we experienced.”
“We lost the final of the World Cup against Germany who have great players and we had great chances to win it. With Chile it was the same and we lost on penalties. I get annoyed by the people who attack you without thinking. I won’t sing the national anthem on purpose. I don’t need to sing it to feel it.”
“It reaches me, every person feels it in their own way. The Pumas cry, they feel it differently and that’s ok.”
Argentina is currently second place in the FIFA world rankings behind Belgium whilst Messi is the country’s second highest all-time scorer for the game.