Argentina’s 5-1 win over Nicaragua has delivered a fresh package of optimism and hope to the Albiceleste fans heading into the Copa America. In less than a week, the anticipated summer games will take off and head coach Lionel Scaloni seems to have found his key to success just in time: the marvellous connection between Lionel Messi and Giovani Lo Celso.
It has been a long time coming but Friday marked the first time both Argentines were put in the same lineup and it was most definitely worthwhile. To think that former managers of the national side never bothered to try the ‘Lo Celso & Messi’ association, especially aware of the youngster’s ability to open up the field and his incredible through passes to feed the players up front, has left me absolutely puzzled. The 23-year-old was called up for the 2018 World Cup,but Jorge Sampaoli didn’t give him a single minute of playing time. So as crazy as it sounds, this Friday against a 129th ranked Nicaragua team, Lo Celso and Messi featured in the same XI for Argentina for the first time and it was a sight to see.
Despite Messi only playing the first 45 minutes, the chemistry between the two sparked into action from the initial whistle. Lo Celso always found Messi and Messi always found Lo Celso. It was as if they had years of playing experience with each other, as if it you were watching the spectacular connection between Messi and Sergio Busquets at FC Barcelona. Their chemistry was undeniable. And that type of link-up between the two, brought goals and smiles to the fans at the San Juan del Bicentenario stadium, as Lo Celso delivered a lovely through ball to Messi in the final minutes of the first half to get his captain and his team on the scoreboard.
It’s hard to remember the last time Messi had a team-mate in midfield who was on the same wavelength as the alien-like footballer, but now with the discovery of this new bond, things are looking promising for Argentina.
With only six days left until Messi and Co. take on a talented Colombia side in their opening Copa America match, Albiceleste fans seem to have been injected with some hope and after the innate connection between Lo Celso and Messi, everyone is starting to believe this could finally be the year Messi deservedly lifts a trophy with his beloved Argentina