This Is John’s Story: The Art of Football & Messi

As people who love watching Messi, we always had one question on our mind: Why do we?

For that, I decided to do a little research. Sadly, this research lead me to two other questions: Why do we love watching football to begin with?

And how are these two things even related?

Let me explain.

A few years back I found myself watching this kid play football in the street. He looked so full of life. His opponents struggled to get the ball off of him which struck me even more. He would dribble multiple players and end up scoring. This kid was no professional athlete. This kid was no superstar. Yet, for some reason, I watched him anyway. This kid is why we watch football.

In most stages of football’s history it was considered a source of entertainment. And, obviously, it still is.

A new football fan, let’s call him John, would sit down and watch two teams play. He has little or no knowledge of the players, the teams, or even the sport but he watches anyway. All of a sudden, one of the players on one of the teams does something John’s mind cannot comprehend. Whether it’s something that seems physically impossible to him or basically something he considered creative, John has just been entertained.
This when John smiles, looks at the rest of this player’s team, and then looks back at the player and thinks: “Hey you! Do that again.”

John remains oblivious to anything related to football at this point. Yet, he knows one thing: he witnessed a different type of art that grabbed his attention and he probably wants to witness it again.

He’ll probably leave even before the match is over and have no clue who actually won that match but be sure that he will come around again asking to be entertained.

So is it really just a sport in which a spectator sits down and hopes the team he likes wins? Or is it actually one big show of what the human mind and body are capable of?

John will return and start actually supporting the team that entertained him. He’ll even bring friends this time. However, one of his friends might be pleased by a player on the opposite team.

Just like in a movie, spectators are presented with a villain and a good guy. But, the interesting thing about football is that each fan chooses his own villain and his own good guy. Each fan expects his team to entertain him again but also crush the villain.

The fans wait to see the next big creation of art on the field. Dramatic moments overwhelm the spectators. Some might yell. Some might cry. Some might laugh. Some, especially those who get too excited, might even refuse to watch because their heart and mind can no longer handle it all. Adrenaline levels hit sky high. The fans are cheering as they suddenly hear music in the back of their minds and they just KNOW that it’s show-time!

Give me something to watch. Entertain me. Show me your talent. Show me what you have been working on for years. This is not a ball. This is a paintbrush. Paint something I’ll remember. Take your body to the next level and show me what human intelligence is all about. Give me a story to tell.

This is why we watch football.

This is why when Zinedine Zidane got up in the air, took the ball on his chest and turned his entire body in order to execute the most elegant pass in a matter of seconds you stood by and said: “Hold on just one minute. That was amazing. How did he do that? That’s not even logical”

This is why when Ronaldinho danced around the ball making his opponent look like a complete fool and yet also managed to pull off the most unexpected pass the fans gave him a standing ovation. And sometimes, even rival fans joined the party. The millions watching at home clapped. A man smiled, put his hand on his forehead and yelled for his son to come watch what just happened. And you can be sure that that little boy has just been entertained as well.

Hundreds of players have come into the game and had major impact on it. Fans worldwide have been entertained and have a lot of stories to tell. However, one man has always kept people on their feet. This man was once very similar to the kid I watched on the street. His goal was to enjoy what he was doing and entertain whoever came to watch him. This man is called Lionel Messi.

As soon as Lionel Messi grabs the ball fans worldwide know that something special is going to happen. In fact, his first flick has the power to electrify an entire stadium. His ability to predict what his opponent is thinking leaves you shocked. His ability to crush everything you learnt about physics is enough for you to turn off your television and say: “Umm, how did he…Hell, I don’t think I should know.”

Just smile, my friend. This is art. This is a show. And you have just been entertained.


  1. Thanks for earlier posts, kx.
    Also a Jim’s comment which got Hectored, nice one 🙂

  2. Precise post.
    I’d like to add, that what each individual looks out for shapes his perception of creativity, A Cristiano-esque person can see his pace, antics, venomous drives and stylistic posture as creative.
    While a messi-esque individual, loves the detail with which messi portrays his creativity, his runs, shimmies, dummies, feints, curseballs, his articulation and the unawareness of awe, makes him succeptible to likeness from people of finesse.

    While a regular jelled-haired john with trendy clothes and iphones might stumble across a match, his perception of creativity cannot be submerged by an individual on display.
    My john will just profile messi as, no jell, not enough muscle where do you work out pfft, who is your stylist?, nice skill though, but not creative enough.

  3. Brilliant post Chief, brilliant. Just like the subject of this article, you managed to paint a picture my friend. A beautiful picture. Thanks !

    1. Enrique doesn’t seem to rate Levante too highly (or more precisely, rate other opponents higher)…and he may be right. Great to see some action both for Bartra and Adriano though!

  4. I’m not sure I’d have rested Suarez ahead of Neymar but otherwise decent selection. If he’s planning on playing Masche midweek I think I’d also have let Mathieu have another run. Good that the others are on the bench than sitting in the stands.

  5. Someone here said he enjoyed Messi’s passes more than his goals nowadays. That pass for the first goal seemed quite impossible to me, watching the curve of the ball…

    1. i said that after the 3-0, messi’s second. now it’s 4-0 and he has a hat trick. give him an ovation and show that he can be subbed once in a while.

  6. Ray-Ray gives a shout out to the great writers of BFB and echoes Kevin’s “Rock and roll football” analogy! And a golazo from Suarez!

    1. It’s not the first time he’s done it, but I think last time was back when Ray Ray and la Liga were on GolTV.

  7. There were few games this season where the opponent had so little chance of leaving with a point. Levante had one shot on target but was served five goals, and that’s really all you needed to know. Levante was weak but Barca also had that hunger about them they’ve been having for some time now. Fun times ahead.

  8. Couldn’t agree more with this article. Thought I was too biased to Messi so I went to youtube to see the best goals from CR and then I watched Messi’s Goal. My bias only grew stronger :).
    My story is that I watched Messi by accident and fell in love with Barca. I live in US where its hard to get coverage of any football so I was purely lucky to hear about this guy in the news and then went off to see his videos on youtube (this was many years ago).

    Here are the links to the 2 videos if you have the same feeling of bias as me. and

    1. Nice comment SearchingSymphony. I likewise live in the US. Fell in love w/ soccer b/c my wife is from South America (Chile). Watched Barcelona peripherally but really started following hardcore when Alexis joined a few years back. All American sports seem to have paled in comparison ever since. I still love American football and the like, but none of it seems like you’re watching art. Not since Michael Jordan laced up his shoes and graced the hardwood w/ his gravity-defying artwork did I have this feeling. Kobe and the rest seem like imitators of great art. Much like Jordan, Messi feels like you’re truly seeing something inspirational and original.

  9. “Just like in a movie, spectators are presented with a villain and a good guy. But, the interesting thing about football is that each fan chooses his own villain and his own good guy.” I love this line. Exactly how I feel every time Messi touches the ball: he is David, the defenders are Goliath. (CR7 also fills this Goliath role when appropriate).

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