It’s sweat Messi. How else is it going to be, if you are now world champion. And if it’s more than that, what does it matter. It is happening to all football fans. We don’t know if it’s sweat or what, we’re happily confused.
THE MATCH OF THE FEAT
Against Arabia it was the game of shock. A punch from Tyson. Until the semifinal, the path of fortitude: climb to the top once again believing in Generalissimo Messi. Now, against France, this South American morning in which the sky is unanimous and blue, was the Sunday of lucidity. Of sovereignty. of omnipresence. There was not a single space on the Lusail field where an Argentine soccer player was not noticed. From start to finish, and even in those terrifying last 10 minutes of the match, when France went 2-2. Tagliafico took a ball from Dembelé and after seconds he threw a cross as a wing. Cuti Romero disappeared Giroud -to the point that Deschamps took him out… 41 minutes into the first half!- and in one stride he numbed goalkeeper Lloris’s ribs. Messi allowed himself to be knocked out by Theo Fernández and on that same blessed grass that he leaves behind, he slapped a pass with his left glove for the lethal counterattack that ended in the 2-0 score.
In just 45 minutes, Argentina was the king of Qatar, the country with plenty of princes.
What else explains that remarkable first time in Argentina, where everything was decided? Lionel Scaloni’s strategy, first, with that impassable line of three in the middle, made of lions more than footballers. De Paul (28), Enzo (21) and MacAllister (23). Average 24-year-old lungs that determine the balance in today’s football, so given to having prodigious two-meter area attackers. And of those three, Alexis, the boy who was at school when Messi was already Messi and his reign began. The Argentine midfielder did everything, he stuck to Griezmann, took care of Tagliafico’s back, it was a safe pass. In his apparent invisibility, he was the key to cutting the circuits of France and freeing that mischievous god that is Messi.
Messi. We would need the Library of Babel to explain Messi.
France? Selection slowly overwhelmed by the 40,000 Argentines who ran on the field. Champion team that could never connect with Griezmann, or with Giroud or Mbappé in long 80 minutes. Monarch trapped in his goal, where Argentina had surrounded him since the tireless run of those two who today enlisted for their own war: Julián Álvarez and Ángel Di María. The latter, indeed, lives up to the blessed meaning of his name.
Only in the ten minutes, when Deschamps put the tanks up there and ended up playing with almost four attackers (Muani, Coman, Fofana and Mbappé), did France recover the brilliance typical of world champions. And the penalties, well, too much advantage for Argentina, if they cover up Dibu Martínez, Vasco Goycochea and Pato Fillol.
THE BRIEF SPACE IN WHICH YOU ARE NOT
What is urgent to say in this expected moment of glory, is the nature of how wonderful it has been to witness his game. As he is the ultimate football sage, we wanted him to be more than what he is: the best footballer on the planet for 15 years. We wanted him to decide the future of nations as if he were a president, to harangue as if his companions were sergeants and he, a battle general, to behave at twenty with the maturity and patience of his 35, which is always impossible. We wanted, in the greatest exaggeration of nostalgia, that it be Maradona. As if there were another Beethoven, another Picasso, another Pelé.
Let us, then, join the long list of citizens of the world who apologize for such demands. And even if it was at the end of his career, in his last World Cup, fate, God, wanted this miracle of football. Argentina is world champion Qatar 2022. Messi is world champion Qatar 2022. Everything that happens from here on out, until we find out if this dripping down Lionel Messi’s cheeks is sweat or something else, I don’t care.
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.