Dan’s World Cup diary
There is a narrative building in South America that Messi needs to win in Russia to cement his status as GOAT. The comparison of course is that Maradona single-handedly carried Argentina to the World Cup in 1986 and as long as he has that medal and Messi doesn’t people won’t hear the debate.
It’s often ignored the difference in longevity in terms of playing at the highest level. While one eventually became distracted by vices that surround fame and fortune, the other for over a decade has produced statistics that has left his peers in awe. Due to consistency one has a bigger trophy cabinet then the other.
Their professolism cannot be compared, one a role model who has coped with stardom, the other a flawed genius, famous for activities off the pitch as much as on it. Considering all of that it feels crazy that some would be as short sighted to judge everything on a month long tournament that only happens every 4 years. It shows how football mad Argentines are but also how ungrateful.
The accusation that Messi has never produced his Barcelona form when wearing blue and white stripes is a myth. 4 years ago, when, like now, his teammates were written off because of an average defence, when again it was evident fellow world class strikers were hiding behind him, they got all the way to a final, with Messi picking up player of the tournament as well.
As a youngster he won an gold medal at the Olympics, something his nation take seriously. Meanwhile under his guidance his team have got to three Copa America finals. Unlike for his club, internationally he has been the bridesmaid and never the bride, the few times in his life where he didn’t get his way, loser medals that confirm he is human. Heartbreaking? Of course. A stick to beat his legacy with?
Time for perspective? Imagine if we lost a major final. Open bus parades, knight hoods would be demanded. We still celebrate a semi final loss at Euro 96. A documentary was made to honour getting to the last 4 in 1990. We marvel at Banks save vs Pele and Owen’s goal at France 98 in results where we lost. Paul Gasgoine became a national treasure for crying at Italia 90. Yet Messi finds himself failing in the next few weeks acting as a reflection of his career. How often we want to see people fall, to be replaced by the latest favourite flavour of the month?
All neutrals want Messi to get his hands on the famous trophy but I’m not sure his country deserve it for the disrespect they have shown.