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Man City Striker Defends Messi Amid Criticism for Failing to Win Big with Argentina

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has weighed in on the criticism levelled at football celebrity Lionel Messi when he plays for Argentina.

Messi, who plays as forward and captains both Barcelona and his national team, is yet to claim his first international trophy with Argentina, leaving him open to criticism, and even occasional insults from fans and media in his homeland.

© AP Photo / Alastair Grant
Portuguese soccer player Ronaldo, left, shakes hands wit Argentinian soccer player Lionel Messi during the The Best FIFA 2017 Awards at the Palladium Theatre in London, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017

A fellow player for the Argentine national team, Aguero has emphatically defended his compatriot in an interview for TyC Sports.

“I do not understand those who criticize him in the national team… He is the first to suffer and continues to come,” said Aguero.

Lionel Messi, 32, has won a record six Ballon d'Or awards and six European Golden Shoes.

Having spent his entire professional career with FC Barcelona, the football whiz secured a club-record 34 trophies. The victories include ten La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League titles, three FIFA Club World Cup's and six Copas del Rey.

However, the Barcelona star witnessed his national team finish runner-up at the 2014 World Cup, and placing second in back-to-back Copa America's in 2015 and 2016.

© AP Photo / Pavel Golovkin
Argentina's Sergio Aguero (9) celebrates with team mates Alejandro Gomez (22), Cristian Pavon (26) and Lionel Messi (10) after scoring his side's opening goal during the international friendly soccer match between Russia and Argentina at Luzhniki World Cup 2018 stadium in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.

In the final of the Copa America Centenario Argentina lost 0-0 (4-2 penalties) to Chile where Messi missed a crucial penalty in the shootout.
After Argentina's last-16 exit to France at the 2018 World Cup, the football icon excluded himself from selection before returning ahead of their semi-final at Copa America in 2019.

Every tournament involving his national team tends to raise massive expectations but wraps up in bitter disappointment.

"I have to stand up and try again, no matter how many times I fall. This is a good message for the kids, not just in football, but in life. I want to retire having won something with Argentina," Messi was quoted as saying by Fox Sports in Argentina in June 2019.

Stade du Barca, ballon d'or

Argentina's most recent major title is the Copa America of 1993. After that, they lost four Copa America finals (2004, 2007, 2015, 2016) and a World Cup final (2014). Lionel Messi played in four of the five.

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