Misunderstanding Messi, aka “You don’t get it, but that’s okay. Hardly anyone does.”


Messi doesn’t care. If you want to understand Messi, understand that.

It took a while for me to figure that out, but this most recent World Cup brought a lot into perspective for me regarding Lionel Messi. There have been some excellent articles on him: a piece that goes back to Rosario, a statistical breakdown that concludes Messi is impossible. And even before that, a lot of writing about a person, an entity, a thing that is impossible to put into words and next to impossible to be neutral about, because DID YOU SEE WHAT HE JUST DID??!!.

But I don’t think anyone can understand Messi because there’s nothing to understand. He just wants the ball.

As a player, he is as close to a shark as any person playing the game. Sharks just swim, and eat. Cut a shark open and you will find all kinds of stuff: shoes, trash, nets, flotsam. Whatever. It just goes into the mouth. Messi wants the ball. No, Messi needs the ball. Pure.

When you watch him, he doesn’t seem to care about an opponent or a keeper as a specific entity. Tell him that he just scored his eleventeenth goal against a team or keeper, he will look down and sort of say, “Hmmm. Well it is an honor, they are very good, blablabla.” But I honestly don’t think that it registers for him. He is as pure an agent as you will ever see. Ball. Foot. Net. Everything else is an obstacle to be surmounted.



Ronaldo and Neymar do stepovers, that “Hey, look!” shimmying that tries to fake out a defender and almost never does. Messi never, ever does stepovers. Why? Who has time for that? I want to be there, and the defender knows I want to be there. Why mess around? No time for deception. Think about his runs to goal. They are direct. He will cut and jink, but he has somewhere to be. All the time, he has somewhere to be.

On a recent Barça TV segment, the team was being filmed arriving in a city and getting off the plane. There was a baggage person, taking selfies with all the team members willing to stop for him. Messi got off the plane, ducked his head and hunched his shoulders up around his ears as he scurried past the guy. It wasn’t really a “No autographs” stance as much as a guy who just wanted to get to that thing he wanted, the ball, or preparing to be with the ball. I don’t have time for that other stuff.

Is Messi an introvert? Dunno. Does the stone face mean he doesn’t care? Dunno. We can speculate all we like, but nobody knows because you have to have clues to solve a mystery. Messi yields none. Because seemingly, he just wants to play. Kick him, foul him and he doesn’t get angry. Why bother? It’s just another impediment. Messi doesn’t dive, goes the legend, and I think it’s because he doesn’t want to depend on anything, doesn’t want to let anything stop him from getting to where he wants to be: picking the ball out of the back of the net.

Other players are happy to feel contact, go down and hope the ref makes the call. But why trust that?

In “Le Mans,” Michael Delaney said “Lotta people go through life doing things badly. Racing’s important to men who do it well. When you’re racing, it’s life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting.”

That is Messi for me, though I understand him as little as anyone else who isn’t part of his immediate family or circle of friends. You can’t understand him because there is nothing to understand for us on the outside. Might that be in part that is why he is so beloved, why his fans are so vociferous and vehement: as much as what he does on the pitch, he is a mirror. Emotionless, stone-faced and revealing of precisely nothing, coming to life only when he scores. He’s an emotional vacuum into which his fans can place their hopes and dreams, live vicariously through a player who doesn’t care about his individual statistics as much as his devotees do.

Media types love him because he is the ultimate player: no nonsense, like the baller who hangs around fields and scrambles to pick up games, because he just wants to play. Messi is just about football. That’s it. The last athlete who was that pure was Michael Jordan, of whom it is said the Bulls had to try to stop him from playing all the time — pickup games, 3-on-3s in a park somewhere, an unyielding single-mindedness that yields excellence.

And Messi is unassailable precisely because he’s so unavailable. It’s like reviewing water. Who doesn’t like water? It is what it is, and is so perfect at what it does. Messi is the perfect machine: He does stupefying things and his team wins. And his first action is to run to his teammates. No preening, no pointing to his number, no mugging, or ripping off his shirt and flexing his muscles. He only allows himself a moment to dedicate yet another tally to his late grandmother.

When he scored THAT goal against Getafe, all he did was keep running until he ran into teammates. Then he just hugged them and grinned, because that was the pinnacle of everything for him, I think. Then finally, he and Eto’o hugged, forehead to forehead, grinning like the two happiest people on the planet. The quality of the goal didn’t matter, that he beat the entire Getafe team didn’t matter.

“Hey guys! I scored a goal for us!”

It’s so beautiful it makes your heart ache, even if you aren’t a fan of the player, because it’s pure. It’s what lies at the core of the purity of the game. I don’t understand Messi, but I understand that.


By Kxevin

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. It’s going to take a magical moment like Frank de Boer – Bergkamp for any of these teams to win. It could be Mascherano Messi or Robben Sneijder.

  2. I really wonder what Messi is saving himself for. Is he still carrying the injury or he just doesn’t have anymore motivation? It’s hard to believe the latter since it’s the World Cup semi final. He just never looked the same ever since his last hamstring injury.

    1. He did look the same – in the first 20 minutes after he came back. But that was it.

      And this is very very worrisome to watch – he still looks slow and he just can’t get past defenders with the same ease. That said, hopefully he has a great final.

    2. Yeah he surprisingly did ok for a while. Inconsistent and then it just faded. He still scores a ton of goals but he’s half the player he is. I said before the injury already that Messi’s peak won’t be in the normal age of 27-30 like other players. Messi is different. And the hamstring injury just made it worse.

      He still has enough talents and he is smart and thankfully he has a good head above his shoulders and a right attitude so he can still continue at the top level for many years to come. We just have to stop expecting him to continuously beating players on the run and being so involved in the game. He’ll have less touches on the ball.

    3. Great comment! Despite the fact that we say we don’t understand Messi, I think we do more than we think. Messi must know that his days when he can do it all on his own are over and is probably getting sick of other teams going into each match preoccupied with stopping him.

      This probably played a role in our unapologetic quest to get Suarez. Maybe the club doesn’t fully believe that Messi can form this telepathic connection with Neymar so not only are we rid of Messi-dependency but also the can Messi form a telepathic connection with Neymar question.

      Sucks that we are going to have to wait months to see if these three will click.

    4. It’s less what he does with the ball that I’m frustrated about than what he does without it – i.e. nothing at all.

  3. I’m so so happy for Messi. I’m gonna pray for him to perform in the final.

    Since I’m 50-50 I don’t really mind but the only person I wouldn’t mind missing the penalty was Sneijder. Van Gaal made 2 mistakes by electing Ron Vlaar to take the penalty and not putting Krul in. Krul is taller so has a higher chance of stopping the ball if he gambles right and we all saw how he stopped the penalties.

  4. Who was saying Maschete should’ve been sold? Not Jefecito, JEFEZAZO!

    For those who are counting, the last time Argentina went to the final, Messi was kicking around a ball that was half as big as him.

    1. In fairness, I was one of those who suggested that he could be sold as I don’t believe that he is right for us at CB. At DM playing consistently for the first time in a number of seasons he has been an animal and I would argue deserves to start ahead of Busquets at the start of next season on recent form.

      I still believe that he is wrong for us at CB but I would love to have him behind a few midfield creators which he sorely misses with Argentina. Rakitic, Iniesta and Rafinha are miles ahead of Biglia, Gago and Perez in terms of creativity and ability on the ball.

      I would like one of the two centrebacks that we sign to be Rojo. He has characteristics that would be very helpful to us in both central and wide positions. Defending 40 yards from goal his physicality would be incredibly beneficial and as an alternative at left back would give us solidity for tougher opponents. For a long time I’ve been arguing for Hummels or Benatia as the first choice but in reality as long as it isn’t a €40m deal for the unproven Marquinhos I’ll be happy.

      Many congratulations to Messi for getting to the final and I hope he wins the trophy for his country.

    2. And I really like his fighting spirit. He was hurt twice but continued playing without wasting any time. He was the same in the Argentina match. Just kept on playing. He’s very fresh. Doesn’t want to waste time. I really like that. Him and Bartra are future stars.

      But Alba is very good too so I’m not sure if it’s a good move to sign Rojo.

      Which do you guys prefer as a back up for LB and CB?
      Rojo, Matthieu or Vertonghen?

    3. Mascherano is not a CB, but after four years at Barcelona he’s a DM who knows how to play as a an excellent make-shift CB. I agree with you, he should be played at DM, but man it’s nice to know Barcelona have such a commanding character. That was why I was absolutely against selling him. You just can’t buy esprite de corps. You can’t buy that experience.

      I also agree about Rojo – and Hummels would make Pique move his skinny ass. Rojo has potential, but what’s more, I think the guy would provide competition for Bartra. Basically this is why I have no problems with Marquinhos – I think if Luis Enrique declares the second CB spot up for grabs, then Bartra and Marquinhos/Rojo would show their best side. If Rojo is available, then awesome.

    4. I was.
      One good series of games does not invalidate another, longer series of poor games (played, albeit, in a different position altogether).

    1. Mascherano is better is last ditch tackles. It’s nice to see but Busi doesn’t need to do that as he usually kills the attack higher up the pitch. That’s why there is hardly any eye catching moments from Busi.

    2. why choose? why not play BOTH Masch and Busquets in a double pivote? it would certainly shore up our defensive frailties. and with Neymar, Iniesta, Messi and (not Alexis) a left-sided attacking player ahead of them, why would we worry about scoring goals?

      our 4-3-3 is a bit too orthodox when not firing on all cylinders, especially now without Xavi who was its real engine.

  5. So Smasche was this good and we put him at CB? That aint fair to me, he played a better all-round game than busi would, kept Robben out of the game! He should be starting in midfield or it aint gonna be right.

  6. 1 more game to go. Messi needs to go all out and silence the critics. This is his moment.

  7. I never thought i would see this day… so happy..just so happy.. my 20 year old baby says Messi to any footballer she see’s on the tele.. she’s my lucky charm..superstitious.. whatever.. Go Argentina.. Masch was so so immense..he was perfect..

  8. Mascherano what a player! I know there are calls to have Mascherano as the DM. For all his skills that may not work at Barca. All his life he has shone as a part of a double pivot in teh middle. He has struggled as a single man holding midfielder. But then again if coach is looking to have a double pivot of Masc and Busq that coudl be quite extra ordinary.

    BUt this not how we should use him. I have a better use. I have argued for this many times last season. but now since Luis Van Gaal has showed the world again that a 3-4-3 still works and is pretty stable, how about Mascherano as a a central defender in a 3-4-3. He could be spectacular in a Franz Beckenbauer role, a libero who is pretty much offensive. He have got enough pace to act as a modern libero who sits behind the defense and can charge up the pitch. A 3-4-3 will also give us a man advantage in midfield against opposition who actually flood the midfield with bodies.

  9. If the reported price of Sanchez of 27 Million is true, then I think that will be good for us. I don’t think he will fetch us anything more. We bought him for 38 Million or so. I was one of the rare few who was dead against his signing. He is a different type of player than we need. He would work well at Barca provided we sell Messi. His skillset coincides a lot with No.10 role. But then in Messi we have a No.9 and No.10 combined. So it’s better we sell him. He needs a team which will use him to his strengths.

    His work rate has never been a question. A team like Arsenal will love to have him. We never signed him for his work rate. When he arrived it was told that he will score goals tons of them. That didn’t happen for sure. Regardless of that I would sum up him in one sentence – “Great Player, stuck up in Wrong role and team”.

  10. A lot of things have been said about Argentina so far but the common denominator is that they have always done just enough to beat their opponents no matter how good or bad. Is that Sabella’s genius or just his incredible luck? This is also the guy who would have beat Barca too if not for a last minute Pedro header and some Messi magic, so there must be something to his ruthless pragmatism.

    Argentina have conceded 3 goals this WC. Amazingly, this is one more than either Spain gave up in 2010 or Italy in 2006. Maybe Scolari’s tactics make more sense given these results. Take Thiago Silva and Neymar out of the picture, and the rest was just a house of cards.

    1. Scolari very much did not set up to play defensively against the Germans. Had he done that, this would not have happened.

      They were suicidal

    2. Absolutely. Zonal marking did an analysis that particularly emphasized Marcelo’s suicidal forays up the left flank.


      I’m am just trying to understand the worst result in World Cup history and why Brazil were such a different team without Neymar and Silva. No leadership, no defensive spine, no focal point of attack. Just interested if Scolari knew in the back of his mind whether this kind of defeat was possible and what his strategy was going into the match.

      Germany and Bayern have run riot on many teams before including F.C.B. Maybe Bayern may have ravaged Real Madrid too had they scored first and Pepe and Ramos not had outstanding performances. The key for Argentina, I assume, will be to do everything possible to prevent Germany from scoring first.

  11. that was a crazy match!

    i’m admittedly several beer into the night, but goddamn. everyone and their grandmother had argentina scoring 10 goals to the 9 they let in, and yet here we are after 6 games and how many goals? i have to say, it’s been so intense to watch these 120 minute games, but MASCH has really shown his stuff. holy shit! and MESSI! jesus.

    props to romero as well. his second save in penalties was fantastic. he’s had an amazing world cup.

    1. But you gotta look at the opposition that they have to face so far. Iran, Bosnia, Nigeria (conceded 2!), Swiss, Belgium and Holland. All of them bar Holland and Belgium are not really a force to be reckoned with. Holland couldn’t even score against Costa Rica in normal time.

      Germany will really be a big test for Argentina. Their midfield have to be better. Mascherano is fighting a lonely battle there. He’s their creative player & defensive player in the middle of the park and on top of that he needs to constantly bail out his defense.

      Argentina’s defense did better now that Fernandez is dropped and Rojo is back but their CB’s are still suspect.

      Last but not least, Messi has to play football, not just standing around. He did dribble a lot last night but besides that he didn’t do much. And most of his action were in the first half. After getting stopped by Vlaar & co. a couple of times, he suddenly stopped trying.

      I don’t buy tired excuse. Every player in the tournament has played massive minutes. Messi was injured in the middle of the season so had a mini break. And in the World Cup itself he had a break in the Nigeria match, so I’m really not buying into it. Unless he is still carrying an injury.

      During the season people said that he is saving for the World Cup but ever since he got into the KO stages, he stopped trying hard. Against Belgium he still had some moments, but last night in the 2nd half was hurtful for me to watch.

      Please don’t see me as a hater. I love him, so much until I am split between my country and him. That’s how much I love him but it’s so painful to see him not moving in the semi final of a World Cup.

  12. I finally had some spare time and straight away read this.

    Messi got off the plane, ducked his head and hunched his shoulders up around his ears as he scurried past the guy. It wasn’t really a “No autographs” stance as much as a guy who just wanted to get to that thing he wanted, the ball, or preparing to be with the ball. I don’t have time for that other stuff.

    I don’t know. He may be shy or an introvert but as a role model, an idol, he should be more open and welcome his adoring fans. I don’t mean that he needs a full PR team, just be more open like Neymar, Pinto, Alves. It doesn’t hurt to be friendly to people who idolize you.

    1. I took my son to the Camp Nou and Messi was happy to meet him after a game, sign a Barca cap for him and say a few words (Spanish so the boy had no idea what he said, but still:-)

      He is a shy person and also focused. In Balague’s book the Barca medical staff said that tests have shown that Messi has a ‘condition’ that requires him to run less, as he takes longer to recover when consistently over-exerting his leg muscles. Despite appearing lazy he still ratchets up better stats almost in all the games he plays (recovered balls, taking on players, etc)

  13. Michael Jordan, of whom it is said the Bulls had to try to stop him from playing all the time

    I asked you this a couple of times over the years but I think you missed them.

    I didn’t get to watch live games during the Stockton-Malone, Magic and Jordan era. I only got to watch live games during Lakers era with Kobe and Shaq. During the Lakers era, up until now the star players get rest whenever the team has a strong lead or just to give them rest. And when they have a >15 points lead in the 4th quarter, the star players suit up and never join the game anymore.

    Was it the same in the 90’s and before that? I really like this method and I think it should be applied to football as well.

    In terms of mid game rest, it can’t be applied to football obviously as they don’t use rolling subs. What I do think should be done by Pep and Tito in the past is to take Messi off sometimes when we have a 2 goal cushion past the 60-70th minute mark.

    I do think that it will make a difference in a 50+ games season. I’m not a fan of players rested only when there are 5 mins left. No point in that. Won’t make much of a difference. But taking a player off in 60-70th minute does make a difference.

    1. Phil Jackson controlled Jordan’s minutes.

      However, if you go back further into history, it was a lot more common for players to play the whole 48 minutes.

      Wilt Chamberlain once averaged 48.5 minutes per game.

    2. Thanks guys.

      A basketball game’s duration is 48 mins. So I assume Chamberlain’s teams went into extra time a lot?

      Good comparison Inamess. Strange that I’ve never heard his name before. I guess because a pitcher’s name doesn’t come up as often as a batter (from the homerun records).

    3. Another analogy would be the role of relief pitchers in modern baseball. Modern sports has come to terms with the limitations of the human body over time. Some pitchers before this had pitched themselves out of baseball with 3 days rest between starts and pitching complete games. Some examples were Sandy Koufax and Catfish Hunter. Koufax’s dominance from 1963-66 was comparable with Leo’s from 2010-2013.


      It hard to know what happened in Leo’s case, but it does seem we were playing him too much for too long a time and trying to get Leo back too soon after his injury against PSG may have been a huge mistake.

    4. (I’m going to hijack this post because) I love Sandy Koufax! I never thought I’d see one of my favorite baseball players mentioned on here. Have you read Jane Leavy’s fantastic biography of him, Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy?

    5. Thanks! Yes, I have. Koufax was way before my time but I always thought his story an incredible one. The Messi parallels are a bit of a stretch, but the complete dominance, the distaste for the spotlight, the injuries, and the anatomic anomalies are not.

      Would have loved to have seen Koufax in his prime. I will just have to settle for Messi.

  14. “The penalty series is always a matter of luck,” X said. “And, of course, I taught Romero how to stop penalties so that hurts.”

    Guess who X is 😆

    Apparently the reason why Vlaar took the 1st kick was because 2 players chickened out and the reason Krul didn’t go in was because RvP was on his last legs.

  15. It was a horrible game last night, but Sabella got his tactics right.
    That’s what you do to a defensive team like Holland.
    This is what happens when when team plays like Chelsea and the other would rather not take a chance.

  16. The BBC said equivalent of EUR44m for Sanchez. The club apparently slipped and posted the announcement of the transfer early this a.m., then took it down quickly.

  17. What’s up everyone!

    I’ve been itching to say this for quite a while, so will do so now.

    – For 3 years I have been defending and singing praises of Alexis Sanchez and his value. Throughout times when 90% of BFBers including some mods were calling for his head, branding him as wasteful and not Barca quality. I find the recent noise to not sell him and the supposed figure being low laughable.

    How folks can change.

    – On an exact similar note, I have been an ardent fan of Mascherano. Always believed that even when played out of position, he has performed admirably and most times during the past 2 seasons, looked like the only player who gave a shit. He was puyolesque in spirit and play and for a year now, I have been convinced that he should be the one wearing Barca’s armband. Fuck not being catalan or up the line in seniority.

    Many folks were hoping to see the back of him too. What do they think now? I, for one, was ready to go into a cocoon if Barca had sold him this summer, to Napoli or wherever. His renewal is the best news and he is boss!

    – Argentina!
    yes you are not as good a team as germany, but I will be rooting for you. Masch and Messi deserve this.

    1. – I think Argentina dont play as good “football” as Germany do but I want them to win just so Messi can get that monkey off his back.

      – I am a fan of Mascherano, I think he is the best “destroyer” we have. His leadership skills are admirable. I think he has his limitations, through no fault of his own. At Barca with just him and Pique at the back when someone sends a high ball he is not able to deal with it. We’ve seen that time and again. This wasn’t exploited at the world cup because he had other defenders for company. If barca are going to play the same way then I do not think he is the defender we need. I do want him on the team though but I don’t know what is the best way to utilize his skillset.

      – Alexis. This is more complicated. While there is no denying he has massively improved as a player and his goal numbers have rocketed up, I think Suarez as a striker is an improvement. Sadly we can only have that many strikers on the team. Also I think we don’t use Alexis in the position he plays best at. For his sake atleast I want him to go to a team where he can play at his full potential. Whether Arsenal is that team is a different question altogether. Im a fan of Alexis anyways.

  18. After watching the Netherlands in the world cup, would Ron Vlaar make a reasonable signing for us?

    He seems to have the ball playing ability required of a Barcelona center back, and his defending has been superb. He had 100% tackles last night. I’m sure if we offered enough money to Aston Villa, we would be able to get him. The only negative is his age as he’s already 29.

    What do you guys think?

    1. The same thing crossed my mind, but I really don’t know him much at all. He’s had a good WC, but that’s about all I have to go on.

  19. And…
    there goes my favorite barca player from last season.


  20. Alexis transfer has been made official on the Barca site. It’s sad. I understand Alexis’ position as he will be the star attacker at Arsenal and playing with Giroud he could be a very useful attacker for them with the likes of Ramsey and Ozil supplying them. Ramsey was absolutely amazing last season and if not for his injury Arsenal would have pushed very close for the championship.
    I would also understand if Arsene made a bid to bring Song back as he could use a bit of muscle in midfield.

    As for Barca, €40m+ is a lot of money to get for any player. I’ve said numerous times that I would prefer to have the Alexis and sell Pedro but that is never going to happen. The Suarez deal will probably go through in the next couple of days and until he comes off suspension I truly hope that Deulofeu is given plenty of opportunities to prove his worth as a Barca player.

    1. Sanchez is ready to run his own show. I view that transfer as a graduation of sorts. He was only going to be happy in Messi’s shadow for so long. You could see how ready he was running Chile at this World Cup

      His value is never going to be higher. This is a perfect time to sell, if looking at it in the cold, hard light of modern football.

      Thing is that people who crapped on him are now looking for people to blame for his departure. No blame. It’s just that time for him, and a very nice bit of business at that.

  21. I gotta say this, the transfer policy of Barca really hurts me, deep in my blaugrana heart… 🙁

    Why Thiago, Neymar and now even Alexis & Suarez??? I don’t get it.

    200mio for Neymar + Suarez, still no worldclass defender. Lack of trust in other players. Makes it hard to stay a fan with all my passion for the club.

    1. Thiago left for a better job. So did Sanchez. Neymar was an excellent signing. If he wasn’t a remorseless psychopath, Suarez would be, as well.

      The club didn’t have big success last year because it didn’t score enough goals, not because of how many it conceded, as that number was way down from the year before.

      Players come and players go. The question becomes what does the club represent for you? There are supporters who come because they are drawn to a certain player, and stop following a club when that player leaves. There are others who come for a player, and stay for the club. And all points in between.

      I don’t think that any transfers are worth dropping a club for, but that’s just me. And our club has a lot of other stuff far more vexing than an on-pitch employee leaving for a better job.

    2. Sorry but I can’t imagine not following a club because certain players are sold or w/e… support the badge not the number in the back 🙂

    3. The beautiful thing about a sports team is that they will always be there to go back to, even if your passion wanes at certain points for some reason.

      Helge, I agree with you. No one dictates that you must have passion for Barca, or that your passion must always be at the same level. Don’t like this string of transfers or this board or this group of players? Give it a few years for things to change. To stretch the saying to its breaking point, support the badge because the badge is what is constant, not because the badge can magically erase the way the back of the shirt affects you and your fan experience.

      We follow sports because sports bring joy into our lives and give us communities to belong to. And it’s not just about trophies – commiserating over hard times or picking apart transfer rumors can be just as fun. But if the joy disappears because of a certain set of circumstances surrounding your club, I say take a step back and let the club recover before you give it your full passion again.

  22. And there goes a phenomenal player like alexis, Yet i’m at peace with that.

    Here is the thing, If luis enrique considered alexis to be one of the main components in his future plans and vision for the team, He would not have been sold, Simple as that.
    No coach will ever refuse to have someone like alexis in his squad, That’s not brainier, But it appears that the Enrique had some more pressing needs for the team that out ranked alexis in terms of priority, And in the end you can’t have everything, Ultimately, Compromises have to be made.

    It’s a win-win scenario, The club uses his transfer fee to address the main requests and wishes of the coach, And alexis goes to a club where he can shine even more.
    All there is to say for me is, Thank you alexis, And good luck, Except when facing us.

  23. What is so strange is that most people have made peace with the Sanchez sale so readily. No recriminations, no taking sides between the player and club. We got good value for a great player who wanted to leave, the team wanted to sell, and who will have a better career at an admirable club.

    If that is not a good transfer then I don’t know what is. All that was missing was an Alexis Sanchez day. We almost had one, but you can’t have everything.

    Thanks Alexis! Class through and through: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q07wKowKpOM

    1. And before anyone says I’m just trying to “fanboy”, here’s a perfect rebuttal to the above http://wp.me/p2SXLf-r2

      If Leo doesn’t pull a Getafe run from nowhere he’s basically underwhelming to people, doesn’t matter that whole teams often aches to nullify he and he alone

    2. Where do you see “anything to take a shot at Leo” in that excellent McIntosh piece? The only thing the writer said is that tight marking and fouling have diminished the direct contribution that Messi can make, which is very true. Just as Mascherano was in Robben’s grille, De Jong was in Messi’s. It was a conscious decision by Van Gaal to do everything possible to minimize the damage that Messi could do to his team.

      Just because someone highlights the massive contribution of a player to Argentina’s success, doesn’t mean “anything to take a shot at Leo.” It means that a sportswriter watched the match and the tournament and, over the arc of a sporting event, decided to point out something.

      What makes fans say “Yay!” to one writer or “Booo!” to another is simple affirmation. The people who are Messi fans want to believe that he hung the moon, and will brook no interference in that narrative. But not everyone is like that.

      Both pieces that you linked to are very good in their own way. Each one has a point of view. But one isn’t “right” or “wrong” just because it doesn’t hew to some worldview. They are simply there.

      Nobody is diminishing the contribution that Messi has made to Argentina’s success by suggesting that the presence of Mascherano has also been massive in that success. Michael Cox, Sid Lowe, Graham Hunter and Dermot Corrigan have all done the exact same thing.

      The thing that bothers me most about the general worldview of Messi is epitomized in your “anything to take a shot at Leo” comment. There isn’t any shot at Messi in the McInntosh piece, veiled or otherwise. I have said before that when someone says Messi doesn’t crap rainbows, they are dubbed a hater to devotees of the player. I see it time and again.

      Messi is a human being who can do extraordinary things with a football. Messi makes errors, Messi has bad matches, Messi is not a deity who doth bestride the earth. Messi is a football player on a team with many other excellent footballers.

      People lose sight of that. Demichelis had a spectacular match. Hardly anyone cared. Higuain’s goal was incorrectly ruled offside. Nobody cared. Everything about both teams that Messi is part of is, for too many people, reduced to Messi. It’s what I mean when I say that it’s difficult to evaluate Messi. Not because it is, but because of the legion of people ready to storm the ramparts with torches and pitchforks when a writer has the temerity to essay a neutral, balanced look at a situation involving the player.

      Fans don’t WANT neutral or balanced. Fans want affirmation. It’s also why I so assiduously cling to my stance to never, ever be a fan of a player. It makes it harder to actually see what that player is doing, when he does it.

    3. love the language in this comment.
      deserves a champions league trophy.

      start embracing humour and exaggeration in your writing man, you’ll rock even more than you already do by being all objective and serious!

    4. You clearly have your opinion on Messi and I have mine . jen’s article says it all, I find the other wanting.
      I’ll leave it at that.

  24. Glad to see LFC old boys in the final, sMasche and Maxi 🙂
    Very upset to see Sanchez go to Arsenal though, I though we had that one wrapped up!

    On a side note, and I suppose it is a mini rant, but its a mini-rant about rants. I’ve seen a couple of posts on here that are big old “I told you so’s” about certain players, for example the aforementioned sMasche. People complaining loudly about how they have never doubted a player but everyone on here wrote him off blablablabla.

    Why? What does this accomplish? This is a great space for the support of a great club, dont bring it down to the level of insulting other members and/or mods because they may not have liked what they saw in a particular game.

    To relate this to my great love, Liverpool, I once belonged to a (now defunct) Aussie based LFC forum, where it was more than a little common to slag off a player who was underperforming, for example Raheem Sterling. So much was expected and he didnt bring it to the fore straight away, still looked green (he was 17 to be fair). Then his star rises, starts kicking ass all over the shop and you inevitably get the ‘I told you all, you’re all morons for not seeing it, someone commission a sculptor while I work out my best pose for my trophy’. Dont be that guy.

    And with that I even made a mini-rant turn into a normal sized rant, hope you enjoyed.

    Bringing Sunshine and Rainbows to the Football Community

    1. It was bound to happen, Kevin. With Sanchez announced, it was just a question of time.

      I can’t pretend I’m happy about losing on Lexus, and now that it has happened I can’t help but have mixed feelings about Suarez, but…

      I know you have some hard thinking to do, but I hope I express the thoughts and feelings of this community when I say I hope you don’t stop being a culer/soci.

      Here’s why:

      1. Redemption is possible. Always.
      2. If you decide not to renew your membership, you can do it at any moment. You can stop at any moment 😀
      3. If not Barcelona then which club? Every single club has its black spots and dirty underwear. Barcelona’s gets exposed much more often due to the fact that it sells. The only club that might qualify would be Villareal/Athletic, and both clubs have their shady areas. Atheltic’s fans for example are practically the most hostile group you can encounter in Spain(and that is saying something).
      4. This space would be emptier and less livelier.
      5. The quality of writing would go down(Sorry Lev and SoccerMom 😛 )
      6. If you leave, certified/certifiable board fanboys like yours truly would be given a free reign, unrestrained by common sense and rationale.
      7. From 6, evidently it would cause the rest to react in recriminatory (and completely understandable fashion), probably leading to yours truly’s forced exit from the blog. 😛

      Of course, whatever your decision, we must respect it. Having said that, if you quit, you’re a big sissy! 😛 😀

  25. Dear Kxevin,
    What you gonna do now brother?
    Suarez is official.
    As you said earlier, are you going to rethink your allegiance? Are you going to hand in that soci card and wash your hands off the club?

  26. “Playing regularly wasn’t the only reason I came here, I came here to win things. The league title, the Champions League, in fact every title at stake”, Sanchez told Arsenal Player.

    Good luck with that.

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