Lionel Messi: The shy magician of football takes off

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Lionel Messi update

In his suite at the Royal Monceau Hotel in Paris, Messi is learning to live outside Barcelona. In the 20 years of FC Barcelona, ​​he won the Ballon d’Or for the best player in the world six times. Until August 5th, the 34-year-old Argentine is expected to continue the life of his small-town father in the calm coastal area of ​​Catalonia. But then Barcelona, ​​in financial trouble, admitted that it could not provide him with a new contract.

He cried, and then joined Paris Saint-Germain-like Royal Monceau, it is owned by the State of Qatar. Messi has joined Qatar’s plan to “wash out” its global reputation with sports. On a personal level, he, his wife and three sons may struggle with actions they do not want. But in the arena, he will continue to show his unique and reliable genius.

His father Jorge was the manager of a steel plant in Rosario, Argentina, but after the 13-year-old boy surprised Barcelona during a trial training, the Messi family changed their family structure: the youngest son became The immigrant breadwinner.

Messi’s parents and three siblings moved to Catalonia with him, and they all sobbed in the taxi to Rosario Airport. Barcelona pays 120,000 Euros to the family every year and subsidizes the growth hormone that makes Messi reach an adult height of 1.70 meters. In Barcelona, ​​his brother Rodrigo later admitted, “​​We did not adapt well. We are united, but one person does something and the others do nothing. So we all suffer in different ways. “

Messi grew up almost outside of society, a co-creation of a family and the Barcelona Football Academy. When he was a teenager, he only wore sports clothes, only tried to read a book, a biography of Diego Maradona (he didn’t finish it), and barely spoke.

The coach of the academy could not persuade him to participate in the passing game of Barcelona. Messi prefers to beat the team alone. His short steps help his solo running: because his feet often touch the ground, he can change directions faster than his big opponents, avoiding them like a dog in an old silent movie avoiding the police.

Only when he was around 21, playing for Barcelona’s first team, did he show that he had absorbed the passing lessons of his youth. Messi became the ideal football player: a great individualist in the Argentine-Brazilian tradition, and a great collective player.

Roger Federer, his peers in tennis, said: “My favorite thing about Messi is probably that he gets the ball and can turn his body to the goal. Then you know he can pass the ball well, or Dribble, or just shoot. He always has three options.” Federer pointed out that great football players and tennis players face the problem of choice: If you can do anything, what should you do at any given moment? Messi finally mastered the decision.

He only projected his personality within Barcelona. Teammates, coaches and club presidents are all afraid of him. In the past 15 years, Barcelona has pursued the “Messi Strategy” to realize its aspirations. It was done when he wanted expensive Sweden to sign Ibrahimovic as a substitute. The obscure Tata Martino and Tito Villanova were selected to coach Barcelona, ​​largely because Messi likes them.

The other side of power is that Messi feels personally responsible for Barcelona’s performance. Quique Setién (Quique Setién), who briefly served as the head coach of the Barcelona team, diagnosed him with permanent anxiety deep in his heart due to the pressure of victory. Over the years, Messi has done it: he helped his brilliant Barcelona team win the Champions League four times.

Meanwhile, palm trees, white walls and bougainvillea protect his family in their compound in Castelldefels.He can Send his children to the local British schoolAnd enjoy a family meal at a secluded table in the Castelldefels restaurant. The people in the town left him alone. He once said that raising his young son felt “destroyed” at night and went to bed early. He is introverted and has a small circle of friends. Not interested in extending a helping hand, he retained the Rosario accent and never learned Catalan.

His experience of the outside world is mainly a large group of people filming him with their mobile phones. He has learned to ignore it. In his family, his role is to play football, and his father and agent, he fancied that he was a businessman who was in charge of finances.

Until the judge convicts him, the son may not know that he is evading taxes Jorge in 2016He may also not realize that his father’s constant demands for raises are draining Barcelona. From 2017 to June this year, the club paid Messi a total of 555 million euros — As many as the entire top team. His salary, Barcelona’s disastrous transfer policy The pandemic has left the club in debt of 1.2 billion euros and the team is old and mediocre.

After Bayern Munich’s 8-2 victory in the Champions League last August, Messi decided to leave. But when he told his wife and son, they cried. “This is a drama,” he admitted. The boys don’t want to make new friends in a new school abroad. Barcelona prevented him from leaving at the time, and family reactions encouraged him to stay this summer. He even agreed to halve his salary until Barcelona deported him.

Paris Saint-Germain should be for him: better teammates, a dressing room mainly in Latin America, and the chance to win the trophy that this competitor needs.

Messi contributed to the demise of Barcelona. But he undoubtedly made more contributions to global happiness. Every week, his approachable genius inspires people all over the world.

The author is a columnist for the British “Financial Times” and the author of the new book “Barça: The Inside Story of the World’s Greatest Football Club”

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