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Messi, the World Cup, Barcelona and PSG


Played at the same time as the European Championships, but with the games late at night and with little attention paid to it by the TV companies in Spain, the Copa América (a much older tournament than ours) has been little covered here. The first big news interest came with the penalty shoot-out in the Argentina - Colombia semi-final, with sassy goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez putting off the Colombian takers. The next, of course, was the final, Argentina - Brazil, with plenty of physical action and little actual football. Neymar was taken to pieces. Argentina's win shook a monkey off Messi's back, paying off a double debt: to his country and to himself.

Argentina has always been Messi's weak spot

Because his performances with Argentina have always been Messi's weak spot, maybe because since he burst onto the scene he's not been fully trusted in his homeland. Made in Europe, he was seen over there as someone trying to take Maradona's throne. Just like Him, he wore the number 10 and his hair long, short of stature and left-footed... But the love for Maradona in Argentina can't be copied. Messi has struggled for years to feel like it's his home. Every title not won was a disappointment he was blamed for. Now he's landed one. It wasn't a great final, but he comes out of the tournament as the leading striker and passer.

Could Messi stay at Barcelona?

It's a trophy that could bring him closer to yet another Ballon d'Or, given that none of the big names from this side of the Atlantic have shone at the Euros. But having gone ahead in his battle with Cristiano Ronaldo, that's no longer his main focus - it's the World Cup. To land it, there's no better place for him than at Barcelona, where he's comfortable and the club would do anything to keep him happy. Laporta is doing his head in trying to come up with a believable story for Tebas at LaLiga, something which looks difficult at the moment. They'd need to sell some 200 million euros of talent, according to most calculations. It would be good if Messi could adjust his desires to the reality of the situation, but PSG are pushing hard.