Bhopal10 minutes agoAuthor: Sundar Saktawat
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After losing four finals, Messi has finally won a major football tournament.
Lionel Messi had everything except this gold medal. He was on the summit, but there was no crown on his head. This ethereal instinct was deceiving him. Gold-medal – which is worn as a necklace when he is wearing the Argentine white-turquoise jersey, not the red-blue of Barcelona. But it had never happened. This gold-medal had become such a golden deer for Messi, whose merriment used to drag him away, fill him with perplexity, but the goal was not achieved. There was a stain on the moon, there was no fragrance in the gold, no softness in the gem – something always remained unfinished.
Argentina last won an international trophy in 1993. It was the period of the defeat of Diego Maradona. The glory of world-conquest had already come to Argentina. But the player who was unanimously accepted as Argentina’s greatest footballer after Maradona, could not fill this gap despite having spent his entire career. This morning the picture changed. Argentina won an international trophy. He did so under the patronage of Lionel Messi. Messi not only picked up the trophy, but also won other awards of excellence in the tournament. If Messi wants, now he can wear this trophy on his head like a crown. The king’s head is no longer bare. The golden deer is no longer a deceit. The moon is full and its radiance has hidden Kalima.
But such a situation should not have happened. You can never judge a great player on the basis of how many goals he has scored and how many medals he has won. It is very possible that someone may lose even after playing very well. Despite all its rules, strategies, and manifestations of genius, the game of football is an expression of such chaos, in which you can’t always argue things. Here destinies are made and deteriorated by the distance of a few centimeters. Then you have to remember who played with the mind, who made our health green with a beautiful movement, who created the patterns of beauty, who forced us to praise collectively.
Messi celebrating with fellow players after winning the title.
Because, Johan Cruyff never won the World Cup, Diego Maradona never won the Champions League, Roberto Bajio missed a decisive penalty in the World Cup final, Zinedine Zidane returned to the World Cup final with a red card stigma, 1974 Netherlands and Brazil of 1982 remained empty-handed despite being the greatest teams of all time, Chavi and Iniesta never winning the Ballon d’Or. What does it matter? Can the history of football be written without Cruyff, Maradona, Bazio, Zidane, Socrates, Chavi, Iniesta? Would football history have been written without Messi? Would history have said that Lionel Messi was a second-rate player since he didn’t win a single international trophy? If that were the case, it would have embarrassed the spirit of football.
Thankfully, this morning, fears of that happening were dashed, and under Messi, Argentina won the Copa América – the third largest international football tournament in the world and the second largest Continental Cup – in the world. A sigh of relief has settled in our hearts today like the wind of spring.
Those who have been closely following Lionel Messi’s career know that a parallel stream of glory and defeat has flowed in Messi’s hands. In Barcelona’s golden age, under the guidance of a strategist like Pep Gordiola, Messi set records, medals began to pour in, and was unanimously accepted as the greatest footballer of all time. But even while playing for Argentina, Messi was disappointed. Messi has lost four international finals in the past fourteen years, reaching the semi-finals and once to the knockout rounds.
These include one World Cup final and three Copa America finals. Messi would repeatedly put on his jersey, put on socks, put on the captain’s armband, and each time desperation followed him as a shadow like a ready-to-move central defender. Messi was broken from within. Previously, disappointed with Argentina, he would go to Barcelona and console himself by achieving something there, as he did after winning the 2015 treble for Barcelona after their 2014 World Cup debacle. But in the past years, Messi had to face continuous defeats in Barcelona as well. They lost twice in the Champions League semifinals and three times in the quarterfinals. They lost the league by a narrow margin. Lost a Copa-del-Rey final.
In football, the coach is usually thrown in the air after winning the title. Argentine players gave this honor to their star Messi.
It was a relentless tragedy. Messi continued to play excellently, but the world thinking on the criteria of success refused to accept it. He asked- You scored goals, gave assists, played well but who won the trophy? Messi could not answer this question, returning with a face of his own, his inferiority complex critics—who didn’t even deserve to tie his shoelaces—rejoiced. This attrition hurt Messi, piercing the souls of his fans like a thorn. It’s over this morning.
Only Messi fans know what this Copa trophy means. Messi well knows what this means to him. Nothing is more important to them than this. All the trophies of Barcelona are laid on this.
Brazil were the better team in the title match. He scored the most runs and kept 60 percent ball-possession against 40. Any big player can take his team to the final – as Messi did this time with 4 goals and 5 assists – but winning the title requires a lot of collective effort at the team level. This time for Messi, his team won this tournament and gifted him.
As diamonds and jewels weighed in, Anchel Di Maria scored the deciding goal with a fine first-touch. He didn’t make the same ghastly mistake as Gonzalo Higuain, who hit the ball outside the post when he faced a goalie in the 2014 World Cup final. Argentina goalkeeper Martinez stood like a wall the entire time. His defenders Montiel, Romero, Otamendi put everything at stake to defend the goal post. Messi must have been watching this in awe. They were in dire need of help that someone would extend a hand to them and give them shelter. For Maradona, Buruchaga won the World Cup with a decisive goal, Di Maria scored the winning goal for Messi and clinched the Copa.
After winning the final, Messi became very emotional and cried in the joy of victory.
Messi deserved it. Had Messi not won this tournament, the world of football would always be indebted to him. Messi didn’t win the Copa, football has paid off its debt today. You celebrate by paying off the debt and sleep peacefully. The festivities have begun and football-lovers are in peace like the warm July sunshine. Those who understand the truth as the light of day know that Messi was the greatest player of all time without it, but the gold medal was necessary for him to quell the populism.
On this occasion I would like to congratulate all the supporters of Barcelona and Argentina – we did it, we did not give in to the moment of great despair and defeat and remained with Leo, it is as much a celebration for all of us today as Leo is the moment.
Vamos Argentina, Forsa Barca, Visca El Catalunya, Viva Leo Messi, Viva Diego Maradona, Viva F फ़tbol!