And it happened near the end of his career. At 35 years old. He played in the World Cup final knowing the incredible pressure from Argentina who were praying for him and the millions of people who wanted him to succeed or fail.
“Do not cry for me Argentina!” – is sung in the famous song from the film about Evita Perón. “Be happy for him, Argentina!” -now sings the same country that for many years considered him more of a European, uprooted from his roots, which is capable of bringing joy to Barcelona fans with victories.
In this unfair and sometimes cruel world, there is still a place for fairy tales. This article is a tribute to Lionel Messi, soccer player and man.
A quiet, shy, hairy, short teenager, Messi left his homeland at the age of 13, and for a long decade and a half, from the beginning of his brilliant career in Europe, Argentina truly treated him with jealousy. “He is Catalan and he does not sing the anthem of our country”, some compatriots said about Leo. “What are you, he just doesn’t know his words!” – added others. Although Messi himself, a reserved person who does not respond to gossip, once said: “Argentina is my homeland, my family. I would change all my records to make the people of my country happy.”
Many Argentine fans have traveled back home to attend the rare “our man in Barcelona” games, international matches and tournaments, only to see Leo restore Argentine soccer to its former glory. The one who forged the departure of Maradona and his companions. But every time the “albiceleste” (nickname of the Argentine soccer team) failed, and Messi missed and shot outside the frame, not only in the most important ones, but in the decisive ones, like against the Germans in the 2014 World Cup final. , segments of the game, some of these most dedicated fans tore their hair out of despair. Leo, as captain not just of a national team, but of a “dream they believe in,” was unable to give his country those glorious, high-profile victories that Maradona used to accustom Argentina to.
But from denial to adoration, from love to hate, there is only one step.
Argentine fans have recently forgiven everything. Last year, after the triumph in the Copa América, when the Argentine team finally won the first major trophy in a long time, and Messi, like a true Leo, justifying the name his parents gave him at birth, fought with him.” Brazilian jury”.
Let’s put aside goals, passes, records… It’s about something else.
Messi in human terms is the complete antithesis of the Argentine national idol – Maradona, under whose leadership he managed to play for the Argentine national team at the 2010 World Cup. Diego himself, with his talkativeness, revelry, scandals, drug addiction, tomboy out of the cruel criminal neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, to whom the homeland forgave all his antics and erected a church in his honor while he was alive.
Born into a large family of steelworkers and cleaners, Messi is an exemplary family man. monogamous he Met his future wife Antonella as a child, in his native Rosario, at the age of five. They have three children. As they say, he was not noticed in the connections that discredited him.
A man with a kind soul, he does not like it when his charity is advertised. In terms of PR, statements, and even with a dubious smell, this is clearly not for him. The only sports scandal can be considered the gap last year with the ‘Barcelona’ that raised him and, as gossips said, leaving the French ‘Paris Saint-Germain’ ‘for the long euro’. Near-football: an accusation, for him and his father, of tax evasion in 2013. But this story also has its pitfalls. Yes, and that’s not what it’s about.
“The main question Messi asks is: how can you make something incredibly complex so simple?” – rightly writes a columnist for the New York edition of The Athletic. Messi has become the best in the world in at least three things that can be done with the ball on the soccer field: the art of dribbling, passing and a phenomenal vision of the field.
He convinced the football world that it was possible to practically play with a left, not be a classic striker, and at the same time break all imaginable records in terms of performance.
No one except Messi, even his footballing opposite Ronaldo (probably a movie will be made about this matchup), consistently, hasn’t played at such a high level for seventeen years.
Leo can not only get around several rivals, it seemed, looking only at the ball, to score himself, very close to the crossbar, or, as in the World Cup semifinal in Qatar, to be able to give his team an assist. partner on a tape. Taking the ball in his own half of the field, Messi rounds up five or six or seven opponents in a situation where another player would have been easily stopped at the start of his journey. Messi is often referred to as a “foreigner”. His many plays on the field are of inexplicable football logic. As if it weren’t him, but the ball itself was looking for him. As if the same providence led him across the football field…
He was still the same boy as Rosario. Speaking of Messi, they remember how the future hero of millions carried balls in a shopping bag after training with older teammates in his hometown. Or the memory of Andoni Zubizarreta, the famous former goalkeeper and sports director of Barcelona: “After the game against Arsenal, back from the quarterfinals of the 2009-2010 season, when Leo scored four goals, he left the field with the ball under the arm like a child leaving the schoolyard. Leo has no competition as a player on the pitch. But when he walks off the field, he becomes that kid who brings the ball home.”
In today’s football, obsessed with rational training schemes, Messi is an independent artist. The one whose creativity knows no limits. What pleases the eye in the very courtyard of the school, during battles where there are no training facilities, and you are free to play from dawn to dusk.
Lionel Messi gives the fans the joy that a son who is grateful to his parents brings home. He is an example of the fact that a genius from a simple boy who escaped to distant lands from his father’s house does not only talent, but also incredible work. All the great athletes in history have been like this. Like the boy from Rosario who became the king of soccer.
Opinions about Messi
Michel Platini, former captain of the French team, one of the best footballers in world history:
– Messi is a star of stars.
Lothar Matthäus, former captain of the German team:
– For me, Messi is the player of the millennium.
Cristiano Ronaldo in an interview with the Spanish newspaper Marca (November 2022):
– He’s an incredible player. Magic. Upper part. As individuals we shared the soccer scene for 16 years. Imagine – 16 years. So I have a great relationship with him.
Gianluigi Buffon, former Spain goalkeeper:
– I touched Messi to make sure he was from our planet.
Mike Owen, former England striker:
– I don’t think anyone has played football as well as Messi.
Rafa Benítez, former Real Madrid coach:
– Messi’s vision on the football field has adapted to his talent. That’s what makes it so special.
Duane De Rosario, former Canadian international:
– Messi continues to show that your size does not matter. What matters is how good your football brain is.