Big fluffy hair, tucked in shirt, a childlike innocence on his boyish face and a deadly left foot, this is how we were introduced to a great legend called ‘Lionel Messi’.
There was little debate in every Argentinian’s house, that Maradona was the greatest player ever, but as the new era dawned in the world of football, the nation found a new no. 10 jersey holder.
‘My dream was to be a professional footballer’ Said the kid with wizardry in his feet, waiting to shine at its fullest. Everyone thought that this kid, with his innocent dreams and fluffy hair, could be the greatest figure in Argentina.
And the kid from that day is a grown man today, and he surely lived up to the expectations as the FC Barcelona prodigy, won everything there was to win, and yet one of the most criticised players in his own Nation.
Messi knew the cost beforehand, knew the pride and honour of playing for his country, and the burden of the expectations everyone had for him. He tried, and tried hard to give Argentina what she waited for the last 28 years, lost his childlike innocence, and yet it wasn’t meant to be.
Argentina doesn’t give you any excuse, you either win, or you don’t. And there he was with tears in his eyes, and no hope left.
the message was clear to him, “just a club player”, “Will never be as great as Maradona”- said his own countrymen.
The blue and white stripes have always been a burden for the man. He hoped, with his lucky beard, and an unusual glitter in his eyes, that maybe this year, he could bring the cup home. But the unfortunate penalty was missed, and everyone could see how much hurt he was, when he made his comments after the game, after crying his heart out on the pitch,
“I’ve tried hard, I wanted this more than anything, but it wasn’t to be. Four finals… It (national team) is not for me. This is how I feel right now.” Said the man who once declared that he would retire the day he would stop enjoying football.
It was too early to tell, maybe he said it in a fit of a storm, maybe he was angry at himself, maybe it was too much of a burden on him that he just can’t take anymore, or maybe, he actually wasn’t enjoying playing for the national team. And retired himself with a heavy heart and unfinished goals.
It’s been 10 years, 113 games, and many scars left by heavy defeats that have been put down on him.
Any man, woman or a child sensitive over football, no matter what club they support, or what country they belong to, or if they idolise Cristiano Ronaldo or are his biggest critic, would never deny the contribution given by the legendary Lionel Messi to this beautiful game. Even if they hate Barcelona, or compare him to other legends, they would never deny the fact that the man has played arguably the greatest football of his career over the last couple of years.
He may ponder over his decisions and may return after a break, but it would still not change the fact that he didn’t enjoy playing football with that amount of burden, it would still not change the fact that he returned because of the same surreal expectations that he tried to outrun, and it would be outrageous of me to not say that his leaving was one of the saddest state of affairs in this era of football, but would it not be equally criminal to make him go through all of the hurt again?
Since I believe that life is too short to do something which breaks you, I am ready to let go of the idea
of his return, but what do I know of a man who has the magic in him and quite possibly IS ‘out of this world’.
Maybe he does have some fight left in him, let’s hope for the best and play the game.