Crespo: Messi unlucky not to have won major trophy with Argentina

"I hope to see our national team win but I don't want to say that Messi was at fault, it's not good. Messi played very well. He is the top scorer of the national team. He is the best player in the world. It's unlucky," said Crespo.

"It's not about Messi. It's about the last 23 years the national team never won a major trophy" says Crespo.   -  V. Ganesan

Former Argentina international Hernan Crespo insisted disgruntled attacker Lionel Messi has been unfortunate not to have won a major trophy with the South American giants. The striker, who is here as a marquee player for Kolkata 5s in the Premier Futsal event, was talking to a select group of journalists.

Messi dropped a bombshell following Argentina's shoot-out defeat to Chile in last month's Copa America Centenario decider, announcing his plan to retire from international football. The 29-year-old and five-time Ballon d'Or winner - the nation's all-time leading goalscorer - was visibly dejected post-match after missing a penalty as he suffered a fourth loss - and third in succession - in a major final with Argentina.

Regardless of whether or not Messi follows through in retiring, Crespo believes Argentina are on track to end its 23-year wait for a major title. Crespo is currently in Chennai for the Premier Futsal League. "The Argentina national team is very competitive. If you watch the last three tournaments - two Copa America finals and one World Cup final - you are competitive, you arrive in the final of great events," said Crespo. "I hope to see our national team win but I don't want to say that Messi was at fault, it's not good. Messi played very well. He is the top scorer of the national team. He is the best player in the world. It's unlucky.

"But it's not about Messi. It's about the last 23 years the national team never won a major trophy. Yes it won the Olympic games in 2004 and 2008 but, at the same time, we have lost a lot of finals. However, we are still competitive. This is just the way. I think maybe next time we will win."

Argentina's all-time third highest goal-scorer also took time to explain to the journalists what he thought South American footballers leaving early to Europe. Crespo said he was not sure if it was the right thing for the players to leave at an early age but that is how life is for footballers and that it was upto the individual to make the most of it.

"The world is changing now. I had to demonstrate my abilities in Argentina to move to Europe. I was 21 years old then. I won a lot of titles there such as Copa Libertadores. But now its worse because after six months (after starting the professional football career) somebody will buy you. And in Argentina you need the money to maintain that level of football.

"Maybe the players are not matured enough to come to Europe. But you never know which is the right way. But you need to follow the passion. It's not exactly a sacrifice when you are following a passion. I changed not only the country but also the continent when I was just 21 years old. I did not have any idea of the Italian language when I moved. I learned it during my time in Italy. It all about experiences."