17 February 2022
We should be grateful that the Argentine continues to insist on playing on foot, giving pause and exception while the doomsayers' flowers rot at the gates of the cemetery
Killing Messi is a modern vice, gratuitous and dangerous, like photographing yourself on the edge of a cliff or voting for the extreme right. It can be done, no one is stopping you, but you run the risk of regretting it sooner rather than later because geniuses don't stop being geniuses until they finally hand over the spoon and an opportunist, almost by definition, is nothing more than a loudmouth. The pages of oblivion are full of vocational gravediggers, people in a hurry and perpetually resentful, which, today, are social networks, cheap banners and a perverted or perverse type of journalism: I have never been very clear about the difference.
Surely those who dare to say that Messi has already played his five hundred best games are not far wrong, but it should also not be forgotten that in the fifty worst he is still a better footballer than ninety percent of active footballers. The day before yesterday, without shining excessively, missing a penalty and lacking in explosiveness, gave his teammates three Ballon d'Ors, three goal passes that would elevate any twenty-year-old and confirm a few well-known meritorious players in the elite, footballers who earn the respect of the public and critics by accumulating punctual flashes. It happens to this twilight Messi, I suspect, the same as Borges with some literary critics, determined that he write a great novel even after his death, a definitive extreme in which the Rosario is still not found no matter how much the bells ring at a funeral .
Like Federer, Nadal, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps or Muhammad Ali himself before, Messi is wanted to be ousted early by those who get bored with the same faces and yearn for a revolution every day: we took those for granted. Also to the usual victims, fans of rival clubs who feel the -sincere- need for their cycle to end once and for all, to never meet it face to face again, to never suffer it again. Even Tebas, who dared to challenge it in its beginnings because, as the heroes of their political ideology now defend, you cannot go around giving away the condition of Spanish so lightly. We could count on all of them to announce the premature death of Messi, including the Argentines with low self-esteem and the Azteca Stadium Syndrome,
Mbappé's obvious exuberance has become the perfect alibi for wallowing in vanity and self-indulgence. You can allege compelling reasons to justify his goodbye, such as financial difficulties and even the -healthy- intention of inaugurating a new cycle, but never doubt his worth, which goes beyond not having been able to be decisive in a match against the Madrid. Blessing his departure for a human party, even for an irregular start to the season, is like rejoicing when discovering your partner's infidelity on the very day of the wedding: a mixture of opportunism and narrow-mindedness that will end up making you unhappy as soon as the waters return to their course.
In a world where happiness is ephemeral and joys fly, we should be grateful that Messi is still determined to play on foot, giving pause and exception while the doomsayers on duty rot their flowers at the gates of the cemetery. The umpteenth resurrection of him is only a matter of time, as long as it is possible that what can never die has ever died.