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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Lionel Messi produced a disappointing display in the Copa America final.
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Father defends Lionel Messi following Argentina backlash
The Barcelona ace’s international record is under attack again.

LIONEL MESSI’S FATHER has defended his son against claims that the forward’s Argentina career must still be classed a failure.

The four-time Ballon d’Or has long been touted as the finest player of all time but there are those that believe that he will always rank behind Pele and Diego Maradona unless he tastes international glory.

Messi appeared set to fulfil his apparent destiny at last year’s World Cup in Brazil but Argentina were beaten in the final by Germany.

After a spectacular season at Barcelona, whom a resurgent and fully fit Messi inspired to a treble, it was thought that the 28-year-old was perfectly primed to end his country’s 22-year wait for a Copa America title.

However, Messi was unable to lead Argentina to victory, with Gerardo Martino’s men losing 4-1 on penalties to hosts Chile in the tournament decider.

Consequently, the Rosario native’s status is now being questioned again within his homeland, much to the annoyance of his father, Jorge.

“Many only understand failures and that forces them to see their own failings in others,” Messi Senior told Diez Mas.

“Unfortunately, we live in a world of show and harsh criticism sells better than constructive criticism.

“But Leo just plays football and stops worrying about the rest.”

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Jorge also revealed that Messi has always been a quiet, humble, unassuming character – even if he did have something of a mischievous streak as a child.

“Lionel grew and grew up in a family like any other in Argentina, where everything is achieved with sacrifice and respect,” he added.

“Our culture, our country, is like this: everything is achieved through sacrifice and that will forge your values.

“He never did anything mischievous when he was young because he was always a good boy. Naughty, yes, but never difficult!

“It was hard for him to leave [Argentina for Barcelona at 13], but that has to do with what I have been saying: We are a family that has managed to do things thanks to sacrifice.”

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