Lionel Messi’s aura and legacy will remain unmatched for Argentinian soccer for years. However, it hasn’t been easy for Messi to gain the love and affection of his entire nation so far. Unlike Cristiano Ronaldo, regarded as a hero for his nation, Messi had to take the long road to be a name on everyone’s lips.
During a recent interview on Disney Star+’s Champions, a Year Later special (via ESPN), Messi discussed the difficult time he faced when he received criticism and skepticism from fans in Argentina. The soccer legend shared that the love and support he received at Barcelona was vastly different from the challenges he encountered while playing for the national team.
Lionel Messi confessed, “I had a bad time. My family and the people who love me did too. They [critics in Argentina] were very unfair to a generation of players, and they said a lot of bad things about me.”
Lionel Messi opens up on finally getting ‘beautiful feeling’ that Cristiano Ronaldo has enjoyed for years 🤔 pic.twitter.com/OWNPgtvOc1
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) December 1, 2023
Despite the hardships, Messi is now basking in the overwhelming adoration of the Argentine people, describing it as a ‘beautiful feeling.’ He acknowledged the transformation in public sentiment, stating, “Today, 95 percent or 100 percent of Argentines love me.”
“If you put in the effort, sacrifice, work, and humility, in the end, you achieve your goals. The road can be hard, but you have to keep fighting for your dreams to try to achieve them,” added the Argentine superstar.
However, what Lionel Messi described as the “beautiful feeling” doesn’t include Manchester United’s rising star and Argentine player Alejandro Garnacho. Unlike most Argentinian youngsters, Garnacho has always looked up to Cristiano Ronaldo as his role model during his formative years. Messi’s relationship with the talented winger has been strained to the point where he even unfollowed Garnacho on Instagram.
Brazil police use batons on Argentina supporters in World Cup qualifier
The World Cup qualifier match between Argentina and Brazil held in Rio de Janeiro on November 22 took a turn for the worse as the local police and visiting fans clashed before the game. The kick-off was delayed by around 30 minutes due to the clashes, and Argentina went on to win the game 1-0.
A video circulating on social media shows Brazilian police hitting fans with batons, which resulted in severe injuries to one of the fans who had to be taken out on a stretcher. The video shows that the majority of them are being cornered by police, who continue to push them with batons.
Emiliano Martínez stepping in to stop the police from beating Argentina fans
Moment of Brazil vs Argentina
🇧🇷 🆚 🇦🇷pic.twitter.com/gHyRRvNIg9
— Football Enthusiasm (@Footballers501) November 22, 2023
As per reports, the clash between local and visiting fans started to heat up during the national anthems, which eventually prompted the police to move into the visiting fans’ area with batons. The fans panicked and threw seats at the policemen, while some ran towards the pitch.
Things started to go out of hand when a few Argentinian players were seen trying to intervene, asking the police to stop the violence. Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez even tried to jump into the seating area to confront a baton-wielding Brazilian police officer.