Lionel Messi with the World Cup trophy.
Originally written on December 19, 2022, and produced again on December 25, 2023
Lionel Messi, the “Messi-ah”
Yesterday, the big FIFA festival was over, with the final winners, Argentina, proving their champion stuff on the greens. No doubt, Messi was clearly looking to be the driving force behind the whole team. I could feel that the team was literally toiling hard to prove their championship calibre, only to prove their leader supreme in the game of football.
During Messi’s celebrations in Doha, I briefly considered my nation, India, which I believed had a tremendous amount of untapped talent. Why aren’t we able to field a squad that can compete on a global scale and is powerful enough to do so? Throughout the FIFA festival, I have read many stories in which our sports writers have compared Messi to Sachin Tendulkar. Why are football and cricket being compared? I came to the very apparent conclusion that our authors had assumed we couldn’t possibly compete in the world of football, so it would be wiser to compare us to our cricket stars.
Many athletes have achieved greatness on the greens over the years, including Zico, Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff, Ferenc Puskas, Lev Yashin, Alfredo de Stefano, and a long list of others. But for who is the best of the best, only two people stand out: Diego Maradona of Argentina and Pele of Brazil. This is because, besides the outstanding abilities and accomplishments that the two could point to, leading their respective nations to the World Cup victory meant that their names would be inscribed in gold letters in the annals of footballing history.
On December 18, 2022, another name was added to that exclusive and small list of all. Lionel Messi. Even though his deft dribbling and countless goals at the club and international levels were more than enough to make him a legend, a World Cup victory was all he required to cement his place among the all-time greats.
What does it take to become a legendary figure in a sport that produces superstars year after year? The solution might be both straightforward and extremely complex. It could simply become popular in the most popular sport in the world in the modern era, when every move and tackle performed, every pass made, and every goal scored reach the handsets of millions of football fans in a matter of seconds. Worldwide, millions of people are passionate about football, and each week, club football players earn both admiration and hatred depending on how they perform. However, it is their national team accomplishments, particularly at the FIFA World Cup, that earn them a place in the Hall of Fame.
The magician himself was in the spotlight, scoring seven goals during the competition, including two in the nail-biting championship game against the reigning winners, France.
Look at the level of involvement of the people of these countries, where the celebrations go on for months and emotions run so high that we saw many riots happening in the places where the smaller countries in size lost at the FIFA level. Imagine how much the inspirational aspect works in the minds of the people at large with the winnings and with the losses. No doubt, after Diego Maradona Messi has proved to be the supreme player, he will be looked upon as the big saint of Argentina.
On his way to winning the trophy that Argentina had been hankering after for 36 long years since the legendary El Diego had done it for them, he broke several records. Messi is now officially known as “Messi-ah” in Argentina after finally emulating his idol.