The Reuters global sports blog
With Sergio Batista at the Argentina helm, Lionel Messi has the chance to develop into the truly great footballer his talent has promised since last year’s exploits with Barcelona.
It could be that when the Argentine Football Association make their choice of coach for the 2014 Brazil World Cup cycle, they opt for a different candidate from Batista – Alex Sabella of Estudiantes for instance.
But what matters for Messi is that with Batista he really feels he is playing as well as he does with Barcelona – a bone of contention among Argentines throughout last year’s World Cup qualifiers and into the finals in South Africa where with each passing match the tactics of Diego Maradona isolated him more and more.
By the time Argentina crumbled against Germany in their quarter-final, Messi was back in his team’s own half looking for the ball, Javier Mascherano was floundering on his own in a midfield packed with Germans and Juan Sebastian Veron was wasted warming the bench.