No less than Lionel Messi's grandfather, Antonio Cuccitini, told Radio Casilda on July 9 his grandson was "lazy" when he played in the 2015 Copa America.
No less than Lionel Messi's grandfather has expressed his dissatisfaction with the international soccer superstar's performance in the 2015 Copa America.
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Antonio Cuccitini told Radio Casilda (via Goal.com's Enis Koylu) on July 9 Messi was "lazy" during the tournament.
"Some of him was there," Cuccitini said. "Triumphs are the greatest things there are. But the last three games he was bad. He was lazy."
Messi scored just one goal in this year's Copa America. Argentina lost to Chile in a penalty shootout in the Copa America Final on July 4, per Koylu.
The Argentinians were shooting for their first Copa America title since 1993. Chile's first Copa America championship couldn't have come at a better time, as it won on its home soil.
Messi did not talk to reporters after the loss to Chile. ESPN FC's Adriana Garcia says he "turned down the award as the most valuable player of the tournament."
Despite the loss, Messi thanked the fans for their support on his official Facebook page (translated to English) on July 7:
"There's nothing more painful in football than losing a final. But I don't want to leave it any longer to say thank you to everyone who has always supported us and continued to during the tough moments."
Messi posted the message while he was on vacation in his hometown of Rosario, Argentina, per Garcia.
Messi is seriously considering going on a hiatus from the Argentinian national team because of the criticism he has been receiving in his country for not being able to sustain the form that has made him known at FC Barcelona, per Argentina's Ole (translation needed).
Argentine Football Association president Luis Segura told Ole (via ESPN FC) on July 7 Messi leaving the national team would be shameful:
"I don't understand why people want to argue over Messi's presence. This is an absolute injustice. I hope he never gets tired of the criticism.
"It would be a shame if Messi left the national team.
"I am sure that Messi is hurting over not winning that title (Copa America) as much as any fan. I can accept that some compare Messi to other players, that is a matter of taste, but no one can argue that he hasn't given his all."
For his part, former Argentina national player Sebastian Veron told FOX Sports Radio Del Plata (via ESPN FC) on July 8 the criticism directed at Messi is disrespectful:
"It is one thing to criticize. It is another thing to show complete lack of respect for someone when they have fallen to the ground and then step on them or denigrate them.
"That someone would say to a player, 'You can't play,' I can't conceive that. It goes beyond the talk of whether Messi has to stay or not. It is about the respect you have for the work that player does.
"And the player has been disrespected here.
"It is not just Messi, I am not defending just one player. I am saying that this is a profession just like many others. And we football players, we don't go around saying or defining how each person should work.
"That we are public figures, that is part of being a football player, but it doesn't give people the authority to disrespect us as was done."
Prior to the 2015 Copa America, Messi and his fellow Argentinians lost to Germany in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final. Messi was part of the Argentinian squads which won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship and the gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, per ESPN FC.
Garcia stresses Messi has scored 46 goals in 103 matches since his debut for Argentina's international senior team a decade ago.
Messi enjoyed success after the FIFA World Cup loss to Germany when he returned to FC Barcelona. His 60 goals in 2014-15 helped Barca win the Primera Division, Champions League and Copa Del Rey, per ESPN FC.
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