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Is Messi's Retirement From Argentina Just An Empty Threat?

Lionel Messi’s retirement is likely a ploy by the national team captain to get the Argentina Football Association (AFA) to clean up its act and elect a new leader.

Messi has come out and said he plans to retire from the Argentina National Team. Is he serious?

I don't think he is. Not even a little bit. This is an empty threat by Lionel Messi and his teammates. Despite speculation being that Sergio Aguero, Javier Mascherano and others could follow Messi’s lead and retire from Albiceleste duty, this comes, not only after another final defeat, but during a time when Argentine Football is undergoing a massive organizational transition.

On Friday, merely two days before Sunday’s latest defeat and humiliation, plans were announced by FIFA to send an emergency panel to run Argentina’s football governing body. The association has been in disarray following the death of longtime chairman Julio Grondona. Grondona served as the Argentine Football Association chairman for 35 years, taking over after Argentina’s 1978 World Cup triumph. 

Grondona was succeeded by Luis Segura. Segura, a member of the FIFA ruling council, was recently charged with fraud related to television broadcasting rights, and now it seems clear some of Argentina’s senior players are unhappy with the association’s latest scandal and  direction in general.

In the lead-up to the final Lionel Messi posted a photo of himself with his longtime bro, Sergio Aguero. Instead of being a message of optimism and anticipation for the final, Messi lamented having to wait for yet another plane, writing in Spanish: “Waiting for out plane to depart once again. The AFA are a disaster, my god!!!!” 

Those are not merely the words of a fired up captain. Change is afoot in Argentina and it’s all set to be led by Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and any other willing Argentina player. Lionel Messi can indeed pull this off. After all. he has quite a bit of pull wherever he plays: that’ll happen when you’re one of the best to ever play the game. Just ask Gerardo Martino.

Current Argentina manager Gerardo Martino is a favorite of Messi, having coached La Pulga’s beloved Newell’s Old Boys back home in the Rosario region of Argentina. In 2013, Vilanova was forced to step down as Blaugrana coach due to poor health. Messi soon convinced the Barcelona board to hire Martino. What followed was a disappointment, to say the least.

During his year in charge, Barcelona failed to win any major trophy other than the Spanish Super Cup. Barcelona executives fired Martino soon after the season’s end.

In 2014, though, Martino was coaching Messi again, this time at Argentina. Could Messi have had something to do with Martino’s last two jobs?

All of the greatest players like to exert control over their teams. Is Messi's retirement a message that he wants control in Argentina from top to bottom? 

Let’s look at the actions of Messi and others as what they are: merely a power play for control of the AFA. Make no mistake, Messi will definitely have a say in who is elected next leader of the AFA. Elections must be held no later than July 2017, conveniently a year prior to the World Cup.

Watch out world, Messi is playing us all in his latest power play to rule the world and become the best ever. You’ve been warned 2018.    

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