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via Reuters

via Reuters

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  Debate

Debate

Is Messi's hamstring trouble a sign that his best days are behind him?

Other than the obvious relief of Argentina qualifying for the Copa America semi-final, Lionel Messi did not have a great day. He went for an unexpected Panenka kick, only to misfire in a decisive penalty shootout. Besides, now that Messi has played a whole game, injury woes are looming over him yet again. After the game, La Pulga gave a bittersweet response about his recurrent hamstring problem. Messi was happy to be back against Ecuador, but he said he was walking on eggshells.

Lionel Messi’s hamstring woe returned in Argentina’s second Copa group game against Chile and therefore he missed the final group game with Peru. Contrary to the street expectations, Messi started today against Ecuador and went all the way. But the Argentina captain was unable to be carefree on the pitch. “I was feeling much better. There may be a slight psychological worry when you suffer from an injury or discomfort,” said Messi about his condition in a post-game interview.

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Polls of the day

Polls 1 of 4

How concerned are you about Lionel Messi's prolonged hamstring discomfort?

Extremely worried

Somewhat concerned

Not worried at all

It's part of the game

What was the real reason behind Messi's Panenka attempt?

Overconfidence

Trying to show off

Underestimating the goalkeeper

Just a bad decision

What do you think of Emma Hayes' message to Sonia Bompastor?

Heartfelt

Strategic

Unnecessary

Inspiring

Who is the real hero of Argentina's Copa America run?

Emiliano Martinez

Lionel Messi

Both equally

Neither

From Messi’s words, it is clear that he was constantly haunted by the thought of picking a hamstring injury again. Perhaps it is because the 8x Ballon d’Or winner failed to make an impact, despite playing full-time. He couldn’t score and assist, and when he got a chance to deliver from the penalty spot, he tried a Panenka shot that hit the crossbar.

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However, keeping the ‘psychological’ worry aside, Messi reassured that he felt better physically during the game. “Honestly, I finished the match very well, and I didn’t feel any discomfort again,” said Messi. He added “Everything worked out well” for Argentina, referring to their move to the semi-finals.

What next for Lionel Messi?

Having cruised into the Copa semi-finals, Lionel Messi and Argentina now await the winner of the Venezuela-Canada quarter-final tie. Argentina has notably beaten Canada in the Copa opener this edition and it will be an advantage for them to play familiar rivals. Besides, La Albiceleste’s impending semi-final is on June 9th. This means Messi has ample and more time to rest and even recover if his hamstring injury woe returns.

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USA Today via Reuters

Leo Messi picked up the hamstring problem during Inter Miami’s pre-season tour in January. He missed a few games in that tour. Messi’s injury returned during the early MLS season, forcing him to miss more than four Miami games. Even though Messi’s current condition is not as severe, it is alarming news for La Albiceleste and Inter Miami to see their captain constantly flirting with injuries.