Messi needs to shine against Ronaldo
“Barcelona’s trauma with Messi"… "Messi, further away each day” … "Messi, without immunity” … “Barça’s self-immolation for Messi” ….
These were the headlines that opened the sports sections of several general newspapers in Madrid and Barcelona on Monday. Lionel Messi, until recently Barcelona’s undeniable genie in the bottle, offers little these days. His presence now even seems to be a heavy burden for his teammates, his coach and even for the TV viewer, because he carries a pessimistic air that presides over everything.
To make matters worse, Barça travelled to play Cádiz with two games recently won, two outings in the Champions League, and the one on Messi's return, they lost. In these circumstances, the impatience of some for the arrival of life without Messi (which will come one day like everything in life) has grown quickly.
“Since he is going to go anyway, let it be as soon as possible,” many have begun to think, while some have dared to say it. That was the meaning behind the words of Carles Tusquets ("From an economic point of view, it would have been wise to sell Messi"), who is not in a position to say what he said, but who expressed a general widespread feeling. These days, it seems that the Argentine captain is paid an obscene amount of money only have a sour look on his face.
What Messi will turn up to face Ronaldo?
Those who know him portray him as a man immersed in a sea of doubts, fed up with everything. He tried to escape in the summer, but had to swallow his pride and stay – and now he sees no way out.
Regardless of it all, at the moment he remains at Barça, and so the presidential candidates do their best to flatter him. All it will take is one great game – something which he has done hundreds of times before – for him to reconcile with himself and to calm those around him.
Tonight, he will have that extra motivation with Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch. He can choose to stick with his aggrieved pose, showing Koeman that face that says ‘What have I done to deserve this?’ – or he can choose to impose himself in a game against Cristiano, who has gotten back on his feet and is regaining his goal-per-game rhythm.
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