Argentina have disappointed so far in the Copa America, and as with every underperforming team with an all-time great in their midst, their best player is taking the blame. Lionel Messi, say Argentina fans (and more than a few analysts), simply isn't performing that the sort of level that he needs to - the kind of lofty heights that he reaches with Barcelona.
At Barca Blaugranes, SB Nation's FC Barcelona blog, Jose doesn't think it's very hard to see why Messi is performing at a relatively mediocre level - it's to do with the difference in quality between his international and club teammates. The lack of playmaking ability on the Argentina roster forces Messi to play the creator role, which means that he can't do the scoring:
The expectations are for Messi to be the scorer, the hero, but for that to happen then Messi must be the striker and not the playmaker. Messi must be allowed to be carefree, to not worry about giving passes to his teammates but instead to be expecting passes from them. If Argentina would rid themselves of Messi, they would simply demonstrate their actual abysmal level of technical knowledge which is now blamed on their best player. Was any great player ever able to win anything for his nation without the help of his teammates?
The solution seems simple enough. Drop one of the three defensive midfielders Argentina insist on using, and deploy Palermo enganche Javier Pastore instead. Once a creative midfielder arrives to link up play, Messi - and the rest of the team - will thrive.