Love is a strong feeling of affection. I would know as I love a couple of things: My family, my girlfriend, my closest friends, and the club I support. I also know this because I just googled the word love and this is what it means. Well, this is what it means to Google, of course.
In reality, if you come up to random people in your life and ask them to define love you’ll end up with a whole bunch of definitions that imply affection yet differ drastically in intensity. Some would say it is the inability to live without someone or something. Of course, that one is intense. Also, you would find definitions like Google’s definition which is certainly less intense. And finally, that other extreme where the word love is thrown around regardless of the importance of the topic involved. You know, something like “I love this shirt.” For this example to be precise, let us imagine for a second that you bought this shirt 5 minutes ago and it didn’t even manage to hold any sentimental value yet.
I love FC Barcelona. I really do. From the moment I started supporting the club and throughout the ups and downs(mostly ups to be fair) I know I have loved it and I will continue to love it for a very long time.
I love seeing the club play well and win. I love seeing our players shine and get praised by football fans when they deserve it. And speaking of fans, I love seeing our fans happy. The idea of supporting a club to me has always been about a club and a group of people who feel some kind of emotional attachment to it.
Whether on Twitter or when I sat in the Camp Nou, the idea that other people right in front of me are enjoying the club I love just as much as I am and are truly having fun brings me endless joy.
But love is a complicated thing, and all of what I just said will never be good enough to describe it or cover every aspect of it. Each person has his own definition of it. Some definitions are profound while others can be shallow. Some definitions are wild and, to some extent, irrational while others can be sound and straight to the point.
“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path”. – Agatha Christie
Barcelona fans worldwide have a mother’s love for Lionel Messi. It does not matter how old you are, how long you have been watching him or what other players you happen to like. You love Lionel Messi like a mother loves her child. If you didn’t love him like that at some point, you do now. And if you don’t love him like that right now, you will in the future. All this love for Lionel Messi is beautiful and obviously deserved.
However, there is a side of a mother’s love that just doesn’t sound right when applied to a football player:
“…it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”
This type of love has led people to say many things about Lionel Messi. They said things that not even Leo agrees with at all. But when you’re the mother you truly believe that what you say is the truth because you love your child and you’re looking after his well being. Therefore, you crush down remorselessly all that stands in your path because you believe your love for Lionel Messi allows you to do that.
If you see that Neymar is shining, you need to bring him down as a defense mechanism. If you see that Suarez is scoring more frequently than any other forward bar Lionel Messi in the past decade, you need to remind everyone and make it clear that all of those goals would not exist if it weren’t for Leo. If you see that Iniesta’s legs are just not the same during some matches you need to make it loud and clear that Iniesta and any other player who wasn’t performing well is stopping Leo from reaching his objectives.
You are the mother, and it is really all about your son in your head. You are ruthless to the extent that sometimes you do not pay attention to your son’s own words and actions. Ever since Neymar arrived, Leo has made it very clear that he enjoys seeing Neymar perform and that it is a pleasure for him to play alongside Neymar. He will continue to believe and say this for a really long time. The reason behind this is that Messi realizes that all of this is nonsense. He recognizes his own influence on the team pretty well yet he would take Neymar shining day in day out if it meant Barcelona coming out on top. If this wasn’t true, 2015 wouldn’t have happened.
The same case applies to Luis Suarez. You immediately go into defense mode when Luis Suarez scores a lot. You are instantly worried. What are you doing, Luis? Scoring a lot is my son’s job. You then release a statement saying that without Messi, Luis wouldn’t have done anything. In fact, in a team sport and a team mostly dependent on Lionel Messi this applies to everyone on the field since it is not only about scoring. So, the statement itself is too broad and can be applied anywhere on the field. Also, an on form Luis Suarez at Liverpool and during his first two years at Barcelona did absolute wonders and often on his own. So describing Messi as the person who practically gave Luis Suarez a career at Barcelona is rather odd and ignores all facts. But you are the mother, and as soon as you feel any threat, even an imaginary one, you go out to defend your child.
On the side of the television screen, you will see Lionel celebrating every Suarez goal like it was his own. The two are very close whether on or off the pitch. Again, Leo celebrates because he understands that this is not about them, this is about Barcelona coming out on top. If this wasn’t true, La Liga 2016 wouldn’t have happened.
You are the mother. Your son is, in fact, better than everyone else. There is simply no debate. However, what makes it okay to pull down, humiliate, and insult Barcelona players who happened to have a bad couple of matches? You become furious at them all after a draw or defeat because they stopped your son from achieving his objectives. While in reality, all your child can think about is how to win again with the club of his life. This is it about Lionel Messi for anyone who has followed his career: his playing style and extreme unselfishness never indicated that he is a man that is looking after himself. If he did only look after himself, we would not have celebrated so many trophies since his debut.
The most shared photo of the historic comeback versus PSG was the one where Leo is standing with his hand signaling victory in front of some front row fans. Even with football aside, that photo is a beauty.
In fact, that moment was about several other people. It was about Neymar for his amazing perseverance. It was about Ter Stegen for his last minute heroics. And speaking of heroics, it was about Sergi Roberto for simply being the chosen one in that specific moment.
That night, the mother quickly grabbed her camera and took a photo of her magnificent son who she considered the man of the moment, and well, every other moment for that matter.
In reality, Leo was having a tough time in the final minutes. It was the typical situation where a team decides that Lionel Messi shouldn’t get an inch of space and can you blame them?
Actually, in that goal specifically, he was in a physical struggle with PSG defenders. Seconds later, Lionel Messi was hugging random people on the side of the pitch.
The mother uses the picture to show off the superiority and beauty of her son. Lionel Messi, however, uses the picture to define his team’s success. It was one of Leo’s best celebrations ever. He wanted this comeback so badly. He does not care who the man of the moment was. He just cared about the moment happening. A few seconds after that celebration Leo ran to Neymar to celebrate with him. There is a picture of the two celebrating but it is obviously less important(at least to the mother). Leo ran to Neymar to celebrate because he recognized what Neymar did in the last 10 minutes. Leo knows that Neymar was, during those specific 10 minutes, the true difference maker. Leo could not be happier about that. After all, his team came out on top, and for Leo, this is what matters.
It is about the team’s success for Lionel Messi while for the mother it is all about Lionel Messi. This “preference” in her head creates threats, anger, and sometimes far darker thoughts.
Lionel Messi recently signed a new contract, thankfully. There is one person who is not exactly ecstatic about the renewal. You guessed it, the mother!
After one bad season since 2014, the mother went into self-destruct mode. Her son’s best years were going to waste, and he should leave the club and join Manchester City, Bayern, or Real Madrid as they have an actual “project.”
Before discussing the idea of Leo leaving the club let us first look at the clubs mentioned by the mother.
The mother believes that we should make use of Messi’s final years by surrounding him with world class players. She is right, actually. So her plan is to make him move to a club which has a far weaker character and presence than Barcelona and has less talented and less experienced players all around the pitch. The only true advantage of Manchester City is the fact that Pep Guardiola is there.
And even with Pep, Manchester City is still rebuilding, therefore, its near future success is not guaranteed.
There isn’t much to say about Bayern Munich. Historically, it is a great club and there is no doubt that it is the nation’s best. Leo joining such a club would do him no harm what so ever and he will probably get just as close to the three trophies as he often does at Barcelona. However, it will be a downgrade for Leo when it comes to overall competition. No other team in the country matters at all when it comes down to actually winning the league. In reality, this is not a problem. Bayern could easily provide Leo with great chances to win the champions league. However, this is as exciting as it gets.
Finally, the mother also suggested that he should move to Real Madrid because they “actually have a project.” I wish I was kidding, but I have read it too many times to ignore it. The mother wants her son to join a club whose fans called him all types of disgusting names and whose media outlets campaigned to try to put him down. The mother wants her son to join the club which happens to be the biggest rival in her child’s mind and the rival that he celebrates passionately against.
After all of this, can we really claim that the mother actually knows her son?
Does she truly believe that Lionel Messi, 30, wants to move to a new country and learn a new language after he established a life in a city where he is considered a god? Does she truly believe that Messi wants to cause any disturbance in his family because of the possibility that he might win one more champions league trophy? Does she think it is all worth it in her son’s head? Does she truly believe that his love for the club is that weak? I know modern football has taught us to avoid believing in loyalty but what applies to others rarely applies to Lionel Messi. Leo is a youth player with utmost gratitude to Barcelona. There was not a single year in Leo’s career during which he did not go out to express his deep love for the club yet the mother thinks that she knows better: “Oh, he is just being nice.” No, he really isn’t. He has no real reason to be nice. When Leo wanted to be publicly rude to a board member, he was. When Leo wanted to express his anger, he did. Why is it so hard for the mother to believe that her son simply found comfort and love in this city and club and has no real intention of going anywhere except back home. She thinks that it’s simple for Leo. She thinks it is that simple for him to leave the fans, the city, the family and friends, the legacy, and the love he receives because some board member took bad decisions while signing players and some younger players are taking time to adapt. Is this how little the mother thinks of Messi?
The puzzling thing here is that the mother herself claims to be a Barcelona fan. She is a Barcelona fan who wants her best player and the club’s major source of success to leave. How can a fan genuinely want that? All for what? The possibility of Messi winning one more Champions League trophy? So what, the correct mature decision would be to simply leave the club where he already won 4 of those(with the last being two years ago) and with two trebles attached to them?
The mother is not really a Barcelona fan and she honestly never was. She just happens to wear the colors because her son is wearing is them too. The mother is currently furious. She is banging her head against every single wall she can find. She is frustrated and lost. She is dangerous and loud. This is her definition of love.
Her definition of love is intense, protective, dangerous and fierce. She feels that her son has given her too much. She is looking for anything that will help her express her gratitude even it makes no sense at all.
Gladly for Barcelona fans, the greatest player of all time considers Barcelona his home. He spent his life giving this club his all. Based on what Leo said countless times, he has this thought that he owes the club a lot for bringing him in from Argentina. Therefore, he continues to give the club and the players around him more and more to ensure the success of Barcelona, and it will always kill him to see his team fail which proves that Leo is Barcelona’s biggest blessing and there is so little the mother can do about that.