"When your country is in danger, you should forget your own safety." The miracle man, Messi, is an example of it.
In the history of the beautiful game, there is simply no one like Lionel Andres Messi. The only player who is continuously compared to Pele and Maradona, and is hailed as the greatest in the current era, has carried his nation like a lion with a cub in its mouth, propelling the side to three consecutive finals in major competitions.
Here are some of the matches where Messi saved Argentina alone.
5) Switzerland vs Argentina, Friendly 2012 (3-1)
The first goal for any footballer is always priceless and so is his maiden hat-trick. But the ones the little master produces are always memorable.
This is what happened with Messi in a 2012 friendly match against Switzerland where he scored his first international hat-trick. Messi dribbled past the defence to find the back of the net in his usual style. Switzerland, with their top-class player Shaqiri, replied back in the 49th minute and made it 1-1.
But Messi was not there to watch his hard work going in vain. The diminutive genius replied back in the 87th minute and then ended the match dramatically with his maiden hat-trick after scoring a penalty in the stoppage time.
4) Brazil vs Argentina, Friendly 2012 (4-3)
One cannot be compared to Maradona without "Just Maradona Things", i.e phenomenal dribbling coupled with close control to take the ball past defenders. That's what Messi did against Brazil scoring his second international hat-trick to prove he is no less than the great Maradona.
With 3-3 on the scoresheet after 80 minutes, guess what happened?
Messi swiftly created space for himself and unleashed an unstoppable curler to the top right side of the goal in the 85th minute. And rest of the match was just a formality with Brazil being rendered too incapacitated to bounce back.
The 4-3 victory over Brazil was not just dramatic but also spirit-crushing for the players and the fans alike. Hence the slouch before the match became the game-changer after the conclusion.
3) Argentina vs Iran, World Cup 2014 (1-0)
Some people can sing, some can dance, but Leo Messi can make you do both as you behold his spectacle.
One such moment came in World Cup 2014 group stage when Messi broke the 0-0 deadlock against Iran in the stoppage time and took his team to the knockout stage of the World Cup.
The spectacularly genius play of Iran kept the Argentines silent for the whole match and marked their juggernaut Leo Messi right like chasing his shadow. But who knew that was quite like a silence before the thunderstorm, "The Messi Storm".
This silence took 91 minutes to unleash the ball from the left foot of the golden man, Leo Messi, curling to the right corner of the net leaving the whole Iran team devastated. "Sheer brilliance" seems to be the only way, to sum up, the performance by La Pulga against Iranians.
2) Argentina vs Uruguay, CONMEBOL 2016 (1-0)
After announcing sudden retirement from international football, the step-down left an eternal void in Argentina's attack. But unable to stay away from the shirt that had brought so much joy to his life, he reverted his decision and marked his return to international football with the winning goal against Uruguay.
It was not just a goal or a winner, but a statement to the football world that there can be only one king in the jungle, the lion i.e Lionel Messi. The goal full of joy and emotion was the first step to qualify for World Cup 2018 and the goal which made Messi all-time top scorer of Argentina leaving Gabriel Batistuta behind.
Even though the ball was deflected away by the Uruguayan defender to reach the back of the net, the ball control demonstrated by Messi to make space for himself did justice to his level of play. In the end, he got what he wanted.
1) Ecuador vs Argentina, CONMEBOL 2017 (3-1)
When Argentina's fate was hanging by a thread in the recent World Cup qualifiers, the menace Messi proved that in the footballing labyrinth world, he is the Minotaur. After conceding a goal in the first minute of the high-pressure game, Messi kept his calm like a bomb disposal expert on the run.
At the altitude of 3000 feet where it was difficult to breathe, Messi sunk his flaming spear in the hearts of Ecuador fans and answered the opponents with a spectacular hat-trick. In the game of do or die situation, the little artistic genius conquered the field single-handedly and took his team to World Cup 2018 leaving teams like Chile and Peru behind.
The lethal goalscorer was all over the field to attack and defend the ball. Setting up a beautiful play with Di Maria to score his first goal wasn't enough to qualify. So the majestic genius turned more dangerous and scored two more astonishing goals with his left foot and found the right corner of the net beating the goalkeeper. Messi's brilliance secured the victory but they will likely be among the title contenders again even though they struggled to qualify.