Struggling superstar: Lionel Messi's staggering World Cup goal drought

NZ Herald Staff,
Publish Date
Friday, 22 June 2018, 11:19AM
Lionel Messi of Argentina. (Photo / Getty)
Lionel Messi of Argentina. (Photo / Getty)

Lionel Messi is rated as one of the greatest goalscorers in football history but his scoring drought on the biggest stage is becoming hard to ignore.

The Argentina captain failed to net a goal for the second straight game in Russia as his side went down in a shock 3-0 group defeat to Croatia this morning.

Messi, who turns 31 on Sunday, failed to get even one shot on target against Croatia today, five days after he missed a penalty in the team's opening 1-1 draw against Iceland.

Messi was named player of the tournament at the 2014 World Cup where Argentina lost the final in extra-time to Germany. However the Barcelona great failed to score in the knock-out stages in Brazil and with two group games without a goal in Russia has now gone 648 minutes without a goal.

The last time he scored at the World Cup was just before halftime in his side's final group game win over Nigeria four years ago.

Who do Argentina meet in a must-win game to finish pool play in Group D next Wednesday morning? Nigeria.

Messi scored twice in the first half in the 3-2 win before being substituted 18 minutes after halftime. He then failed to score on the road to the World Cup final against Switzerland, Belgium and Netherlands.

Messi was Argentina's top goalscorer in qualifying with seven, although his side needed a 3-1 win over Ecuador to book a spot in Russia.

"Because of the reality of the Argentina squad, it sort of clouds Leo's brilliance," Argentina's coach Jorge Sampaoli said after today's defeat.

"Leo is limited because the team doesn't gel with him as ideally as it should."

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