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Switzerland vs. Argentina: Lionel Messi's Brilliance Bodes Well for Albiceleste

Josh Martin@@JoshMartinNBANBA Lead WriterMarch 1, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - MARCH 26:  Lionel Messi #10 of Argentina reacts after a failed scoring attempt during the first half of a friendly match against the United States at New Meadowlands Stadium on March 26, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

What was that about Lionel Messi saving his best for Barcelona? What was that about the three-time defending Ballon d'Or winner holding out on Argentina in international competition?

I'm sorry, I can't hear you anymore. Neither can Messi.

And for good reason. Messi silenced his few remaining critics with three goals to give the Seleccion a 3-1 victory over Switzerland in Berne on Wednesday.

A treble is hardly a new or unique phenomenon for Leo, seeing as how he's racked up six of them for Barca this season.

That is, until you consider that Messi had never put through three goals in one match for the Albiceleste in 66 previous caps. The change couldn't have come at a more perfect time, either.

In terms of his international reputation, that is. Messi failed to find the net even once between the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2011 Copa America tournament and hasn't led Argentina to a victory in any competition of significance since the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Hence, there came the knock against Messi (however fictitious) that he either didn't care to share his "magisterial" brilliance with Argentina or that said brilliance was nothing more than the product of a particular system with the Blaugrana.

Whatever the case actually is, it would appear as though Ray Hudson's man crush has finally figured "it" out. Granted, the third goal came on a penalty kick during stoppage time and Switzerland isn't exactly a powerhouse on the level of Spain, Germany or Holland.

But, a treble's a treble, especially if it's a first for your country.

Even if it's "just" Messi being Messi.

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