MESSI SILENCES CRITICS

Lionel Messi has often been criticised for performing poorly at international level for Argentina. However, he silenced that his critics after scoring a wonderful hat-trick in the match against Switzerland on Wednesday night – a friendly for Argentina.

Argentina beat Switzerland 3-1 in the friendly match, which is expected to be a major preparation for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers for Argentina.

Lionel Messi has often found himself on the periphery of the attention when it comes to grabbing goals for Argentina. Even though Lionel Messi usually averages around one goal per game for Barcelona, the same does not apply for the international team.

Lionel Messi combined with the Manchester City striker Sergei Aguero for the opening goal in the 19th minute. It was a goal that once again showed the spectacular capability Lionel Messi possessed within him. It was a goal in which he ran through almost the entire Swiss defence to score it. In many ways, it was reminiscent of the goal he scored in the Spanish la Liga for Barcelona a few seasons ago.

However, Argentina could not capitalise on the lead, as they soon allowed the Swiss to get back into the game. Xherdan Shaqiri scored the equaliser for Switzerland, but Lionel Messi helped Argentina win the match comfortably in the closing stages after scoring two more goals to complete his hat-trick.

More than 30,000 people turned up to see the match, and they were not disappointed one little bit. Lionel Messi was the architect of all the goals scored in the match. Despite enjoying lengthy periods of possession, Argentina will be extremely unhappy at the fact that they allowed Switzerland to get back into the match. However, thanks to Lionel Messi, Argentina can go home with confidence about being able to take on the World Cup qualifiers.

MESSI NAMED WORLD PLAYER OF YEAR

It is tough to argue beyond the fact that Lionel Messi is the best in the world and this is a statement that Barcelona defender Gerard Pique fully agrees with.

Lionel Messi recently lifted the third Ballon d'Or award of his career, beating the likes of Xavi and Cristiano Ronaldo on the way. Even though Cristiano Ronaldo slightly edged out Lionel Messi in terms of the number of goals scored, the Argentine clawed back the advantage in terms of the number of assists.

Further, Lionel Messi was also important in Barcelona's second Champions League victory in three seasons, whereas Ronaldo was able to lift only the Spanish cup with Real Madrid.

As a result, Lionel Messi won the prestigious Ballon d'Or award with almost 50 percentage of the votes compared to the other two contenders. Even though Xavi was highly influential for Barcelona, the flair and skill provided by Lionel Messi has helped him along the way. Now, defender Gerard Pique has said that the decision to choose Lionel Messi is the winner of the Ballon d'Or award is the right one. According to him, Lionel Messi has been the undisputed best player in the world over the past year and continues to be so.

"It is clear, Messi, he has been playing at a high level for years. And Leo is the best in the world. He is driving this team to be one of the best in history. Thanks to him we have won many of the titles that we have in our [cabinet]. We just have to hope that he maintains this level for as long as possible," Pique was quoted as saying by La Vanguardia. Lionel Messi is also nominated in the goal of the award along with Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and Santos player Neymar.

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