It would not take high resolution camera shots of Messi’s incredible Saturday night to capture everything that he did. He has scored more than 100 goals in his career, including the one against Australia. Ball is positioned on his left from the right. Messi does a beautiful first touch. It’s almost always stunning. He then lashes out a shot at the far corner. We have seen this many times! This is how many times this would happen again. However, he isn’t bored by repetition. It only makes him more charming and brilliant. Every replay shows a hidden, often unnoticed side of himself.
There were better goals in this tournament than others; there were faster runs and passes, better assists, and quicker first touches. But none of these would be as memorable as the No 10 goal of Argentina. Because of his aura, Argentina games have only one protagonist. Messi. Every Argentina game has a narrative arc. Messi. Maybe this World Cup is a theme in itself. Messi. This World Cup is a combination of Messi events, Messi steps, and Messo goals.
The upsurge in mid-rung teams has been the dominant storyline of this tournament. It was also a part of this tournament, as Messi was. It started with Messi’s Argentina being beaten by Saudi Arabia.
The stadium is transformed into a sea filled with Messi jerseys whenever he takes to the field in Qatar. Many Saudi Arabians came in his jersey to witness the greatest football win in their history. Many of them wept as Messi walked silently down the tunnel. Messi’s joy was also theirs; they shared his tears. Messi, like a secret agent to their emotional intelligence, could possibly dictate the mood of a football match.
It forces several questions. It begs the question: Has anyone ever shown so much love to a footballer or athlete? The world has united in prayer for any player who wins the World Cup. Have so many people shed tears over a single player? Have any other players brought such joy?
There are many other outstanding players at the World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Kylian Mabappe are just a few of the great players at the World Cup. It’s all about aura and fanfare. But does Messi manage to emote as many spectators as he does?
But he is a product the times. He can stream games from your smartphone and watch any league around the globe. This allows you to consume more global soccer than ever before. Pele, Maradona and Cruyff were unavailable to the masses. Football was less popular and had a limited reach. Messi’s isn’t responsible for this. There’s something more at play than the player-fan connection.
It’s not because Messi declared that this would be the last World Cup. It’s not that Messi is the best player the world has ever seen deserves the best farewell gift. They love him.
That would be perhaps his biggest legacy if he decided to end his career. More than the goals, the trophies or the World Cup. He made us fall for him. It doesn’t care what alterations make; it unites a world strewn with differences. Messi, like FIFA’s football united universe, could be described as unifying the world. He is an universal language that unites people, bonds, and makes friends for a lifetime.