The fallout from Lionel Messi’s horrific penalty miss in the 2016 Copa America Final cannot be stressed. Argentina‘s runner-up finish has forced Barcelona star Messi to retire from international football. Now…it has claimed another casualty. This week, Gerardo Martino has resigned as manager of the Argentina national team.
“The national team’s technical staff have decided to hand in their resignation on this day [Tuesday],” said the Argentine Football Association in a statement. “Due to uncertainty over the designation of new authorities in the Argentine Football Association and the serious problems in putting together the team that will represent the country in the Olympic Games, the staff have chosen to resign.”
According to Opta Sports, Martino had the second-best win percentage of all Argentina’s previous coaches including the great Diego Maradona.
— OptaJavier (@OptaJavier) July 5, 2016
Messi and Martino aren’t the only ones on their way out. Now there is talk that Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero is ready to depart the national team.
If Leo goes, I believe Sergio will go also. They’ll leave room for new players,” Leonel del Castillo, Aguero’s father said. “I haven’t spoken much with him, but he is upset, as all the other players are. We gave up a lot of advantage to Chile. They hear the criticism, and it hurts. The players had come from Europe, and they don’t get paid anything for playing with the national team. As Messi said, it is a disaster.”
“Enough of Messi,” said one user, Agustin Suárez Doreski, on Facebook. “I’ve had enough. I’m tired of reading so many ignorants criticising him for losing another final. To have him called a failure by people who allow routine to defeat them on a daily basis, who allow themselves to get walked over in their jobs and get robbed by the political classes. Messi doesn’t ‘feel’ the Argentina strip … says some geezer who hasn’t hugged his parents for years.
“Messi has to grow a pair … says a bloke who tomorrow is going to pretend to fall asleep on the train when a pregnant woman walks on. Messi doesn’t turn up for the finals … shouts another who quit college because he couldn’t be bothered to study. Messi is a coward … says the one who let the girl of his dreams run off with another because he didn’t dare tell her he loved her.”
Perhaps as a result of the people in Argentina who have nothing better to do but to call out one of the best players in the world (at least club-wise), it has been a sorry year for Argentine football. After former AFA head Julio Grondona passed away in 2014, the AFA has been under FIFA investigation, with current president Luis Segura charged with fraud. As a result, the Association has been placed under the administration of a FIFA committee to prepare it for new presidential elections next year.
Argentina has little time to waste. With a deep pool of players to select from, the AFA must find those rising stars willing to fill in for those who are not willing to don the strip, or the Copa America may not be the only sporting event that this proud football nation falls short in. In fact…it may not even be able to show up at all.