Messi, post-World Cup: Fans show love despite Argentina struggles

Photo of Messi.

Lionel Messi, nearly a year after led Argentina to victory in the World Cup in Qatar, the Inter Miami CF star revisited the challenging journey to the title. He expressed satisfaction at transforming criticism into admiration in his home country.

In an interview for the “Champions, a Year Later” special on Disney Star+, Messi highlighted one of his major triumphs from winning the World Cup and Copa América with Argentina—the “beautiful feeling” of being embraced by “95% or 100% of Argentines.”

Reflecting on past struggles and unfair criticism, Messi stated, “I had a difficult time. My family and those who love me also did. [Critics in Argentina] were very unjust to a generation of players, and they said a lot of negative things about me. I’m not resentful.”

“For me, it feels like a victory to have changed that situation and earned the love of all the people in Argentina. Today, 95% or 100% of Argentines love me, and that’s a beautiful feeling.”

Messi, who debuted for Argentina in 2005, secured his first major tournament title in 2021 by defeating Brazil in the Copa América final. The journey included heart-wrenching defeats in the 2011 and 2016 Copa América tournaments and a surprising round-of-16 loss to France in the 2018 World Cup. In the 18 months following the Copa América win, he guided the Albiceleste to the Finalissima trophy at Wembley Stadium and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Messi considered himself fortunate to be adored at Barcelona and emphasized that winning the World Cup was his ultimate dream. “It is the thing most everyone desires. Everyone dreams big, and the biggest dream is to be a world champion with your national team.

I was lucky to achieve everything at the club level with Barcelona and also at the individual level. This was the only thing that eluded me. There are very few players who can say that they have achieved everything, and thanks to God I am one of them,” Messi said.

“If you put in the effort, sacrifice, work, and humility, in the end, you achieve your goals,” he added. “The journey can be tough, but you have to keep fighting for your dreams to try to achieve them. I always loved playing football, coming to the national team, and being on the field, but I never enjoyed it like today.”

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