Barcelona superstar, Lionel Messi, is clearly going through his toughest time yet as a footballer.
The ex-Argentina forward, who is always in the spotlight for his explosive goals, superb skills and numerous accolades, is presently battling to save his sinking reputation and career.
Even his major rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, admitted that the 29-year-old is “not accustomed to defeats and disappointments” and the past one week has clearly proven that.
Here we highlight seven misfortunes that have befallen the five-time Ballon d’Or winner in just about nine days.
- Misses spot-kick in Copa America final
It all started when Messi missed a spot-kick in Argentina’s Copa America final defeat to Chile last week. The skipper unbelievably sent his penalty soaring over the bar to the disbelief of all.
- Loses fourth international final
His team went on to lose 4-2 on penalties to same Chile side they fell to just a year ago. The defeat meant Messi had failed in four international finals which included thrice at the Copa America and the 2014 FIFA World Cup to Germany.
“I’ve been in four finals and it hurts not to be a champion,” he admitted.
- Retires from international football
Messi then took the world by surprise when he announced his retirement from the Albiceleste. It was truly a national disaster.
“It’s a hard moment for me and the team, and it’s difficult to say, but it’s over with the Argentina team,” Messi said.
- Argentina FA boss follows suit
We all knew that there were going to be some casualties from that debacle of Monday, June 26. Expectedly, same day, Argentina Football Association (AFA) boss, Luis Segura, threw in the towel stating he “will not return” to his position.
- Coach joins the exodus
Messi’s decision also spelt the end to Gerardo Martino’s two-year spell with the South Americans. It wasn’t just the former Barcelona coach that walked away but also his entire technical team.
The AFA said on Tuesday: “The national team’s technical team have decided to hand in their resignation.”
- More troubles looms at the Olympics
Just hours before Martino quit as coach, the country’s Olympic Committee head, Gerardo Werthein, gave warning that the chaos in the FA could lead to withdrawal from the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.
“The chance [of withdrawal] would be higher if we left it in the hands of the AFA, but since we have intervened in the issue the chance is much lower,” he said.
- Jail sentence
Messi on Wednesday got the biggest of all setbacks when he was sentenced to 21 months in jail for tax fraud.
“There is no deliberate ignorance here, it’s fraud and that’s all there is to it, because he didn’t want to pay his taxes,” Spain’s state attorney, Mario Maza, said.