Former Argentina international Hernan Crespo insisted disgruntled attacker Lionel Messi has been unfortunate not to have won a major trophy with the South American giants.
Messi dropped a bombshell following Argentina’s shoot-out defeat to Chile in last month’s Copa America Centenario decider, announcing his plan to retire from international football.
The 29-year-old and five-time Ballon d’Or winner – the nation’s all-time leading goalscorer – was visibly dejected post-match after missing a penalty as he suffered a fourth loss – and third in succession – in a major final with Argentina.
Regardless of whether or not Messi follows through in retiring, Crespo believes Argentina are on track to end their 23-year wait for a major title.
“The Argentina national team is very competitive. If you watch the last three tournaments – two Copa America finals and one World Cup final – you are competitive, you arrive in the final of great events,” Crespo told reporters via Marca on Saturday.
“I hope to see our national team win but I don’t want to say that Messi was at fault, it’s not good. Messi played very well. He is the top scorer of the national team. He is the best player in the world. It’s unlucky.
“But it’s not about Messi. It’s about the last 23 years the national team never won [a major trophy]. Yes they won the Olympic games [in 2004 and 2008] but, at the same time, we have lost a lot of finals. However, we are still competitive.
“This is just the way. I think maybe next time we will win.”