“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
Who would have expected Lionel to pull of those exquisite pieces of wizardry against Espanyol? Or those breathtaking goals against the Los Blancos? But, again that’s Lionel.
You can expect the unexpected from him. He can bend light, if he wants to.
Lionel Messi is the impossibility in this impossible universe. No human can do what he does.
You can liken him with Clark Kent who tries to hide from people that he’s Superman.
Leo is football’s Superman. He’s the symbol of perfection.
Vince Lombardi once said:
“Perfection is not attainable but, if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
Leo makes you think about those words.
We may not find a perfect black body or a gas which is perfect (follows the ideal gas rule) but, we have the perfect prototype of a footballer.
A man who literally kisses and caresses the ball with his feet.
Watching him play is similar to acknowledging a master class by Leonardo Da Vinci.
Wins and losses become trivial, insubstantial matters in these moments.
Just watching him on the pitch unfurl his artistry is a win in itself.
And it’s not just his resplendent level of play, it’s also the emotions he evokes. The sheer joy and exhilaration you experience watching him defy the laws of physics is unmatched.
You experience a wave of emotions when you watch him play. A kind of nostalgia and hope is lit in you. Another player capable of this was El Diego.
Maradona was also an emotional player. He played with fire in his belly. However, he didn’t know how to channel his emotions.
Lionel, on the other hand trumps him here. The calmness with which he goes about his work is unrealistic, all this considering the burden of expectations on his shoulders.
This emblematic characteristic places him on the pinnacle of the footballing world. Eduardo Galeano, the famed Uruguayan writer sums it up beautifully:
“I like Messi because he doesn’t think he’s Messi.”
Messi has been the most consistent performer of his generation. He turns out every three days with even more intensity than the previous time and, you can almost expect him to make you jump out of your seat screaming in astonishment. Messi tops Maradona in consistency. He does outrageous things with such eye-popping consistency, that it almost feels like mainstream stuff. He makes the difficult look simple. It’s like trying to ride a bicycle for the first time; At first it looks simple, as if you’ll get the balance right. But, you’re bound to fall. But, the difference here is, Leo wont’t fail. Jorge Valdano put it beautifully:
“Maradona was Maradona sometimes, Messi is Maradona everyday.”
He deserves one thing a lot, and that is not being compared to anyone.
And we haven’t been fair to him in this aspect. Comparing him with anyone is futile, and above all it’s an insult to the game itself. The most perfect manifestation of the game being compared with mere mortals is a sin.
Like the Catalan commentator said:
“We should thank our mothers for giving birth to us and giving us the opportunity to watch Messi play.”
Enjoy him as much as you can. There won’t be anyone like him ever again.
The purest form of fútbol.