If Julián Álvarez went from running around Messi to ask for a photo to being his ideal partner in Qatar 2022, Enzo Fernández went from writing him a letter during his adolescence to being his safe pass, his clean start in the transition from defense to attack.
When on June 16, 2006, in Germany, Messi made his World Cup debut after coming on for Maxi Rodríguez, in the win against Serbia and Montenegro, Julián was just 6 years old and Enzo was just 5.
They were two unruly little ones, who had just begun to become fond of the ball and whose parents did not take an eye off them, when Messi made his debut in that same game, with a right-footed goal.
Alexis Mac Allister, the Albiceleste’s oxygen in midfield, was another boy who had just started primary school, as well as Cristian ‘Cuti’ Romero, the rustic defender who was 8 years old and still hadn’t kicked shin.
All of them have seen Messi write his story. Match by match. Goal after goal. Criticism after critique. They have seen how he wove his legend in Barcelona in Spain and how he was questioned every time he did not perform in the same proportion in the country where he was born and stopped living at the age of 13.
If the Messi for whom they go out to ‘kill’ in every game today enjoys unusual comfort in the Argentine team, it is, to a large extent, because of them. A team that is governed by him and that surrounds him like a star. A shield with which he can cover himself, but at the same time a sword with which he can damage. They run what he can no longer, and take advantage of his flashes, frequent in the last month.
“It is his best World Cup. I saw a Leo Messi on fire in the Copa América. But I see him playing in the World Cup and nothing to do with it, he is on another level”, said ‘Dibu’ Martínez, who was in secondary school in Germany in 2006, and today protects Leo’s goal.
How many fulfill the dream of shining with their idol? They are few, but they are. And they will be together against France this Sunday.
I have worked in the news industry for over 10 years. I have a keen interest in sports and have written for many different publications. I am currently working as an author at 24 News Recorder. I cover mostly sports news but also write about other topics such as current affairs and politics. I have a strong interest in social media and how it can be used to engage with audiences.