Argentina endured a nightmare night against Spain on Tuesday, with Lionel Messi leaving the game early as his side lost 6-1 in Madrid.
The 30-year-old was ruled out of the game due to an ongoing hamstring problem, and his absence was evidently felt on a frustrating night for him as he could only watch on from one of the boxes at the Wanda Metropolitano.
A hat-trick from Real Madrid star Isco helped do the damage, and ultimately it’s far from ideal preparation for Argentina ahead of the World Cup in Russia this summer.
Although they defeated Italy at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester last week, it wasn’t a particularly impressive or convincing performance, and so coupled with this disastrous result, coach Jorge Sampaoli seemingly has plenty to think about with a matter of months remaining.
While the return of Messi to the line-up will undoubtedly make a significant difference, he won’t help them stay tight at the back. If the Albiceleste have ambitions of going all the way this summer, then they’ll have to make important adjustments from what was seen this week.
Much like most fans supporting their club or country, Messi is no different as evidently it was too difficult to carry on watching as Spain ran riot and left Argentina needing to answer a lot of questions.
In the more immediate future though, he’ll hope to put this injury concern behind him to play a crucial role for Barcelona in their pursuit of a treble to end the campaign.
After that, focus will switch back to Argentina, but there are far too many important games with the Catalan giants to consider to dwell on this defeat for too long, including a Copa del Rey final, Champions League progression and the La Liga title race.
¡OJO! MESSI ABANDONA el PALCO del Wanda Metropolitano. Minuto 77.
??España 6-1 Argentina?? pic.twitter.com/UeDzVfF6Gw
— El Chiringuito TV (@elchiringuitotv) March 27, 2018
? | Messi could not watch the game anymore after Spain’s 6th goal. pic.twitter.com/Umw9W0wPIo
— Barca Centre Media (@centrevid) March 27, 2018