Lionel Messi’s Last Dance – The Ringer

Every city has a monument as a point of reference: a building or landmark that no matter where you are in the city. You can find your way home just by looking or reaching. In Rio, there is a statue of Christ the Redeemer. Looking down from Corcovado Mountain in Berlin, it’s the majestic Fernsehturm, or TV Tower. In an increasingly chaotic universe There is something perpetually comforting about these fixed points.

in the existence of many football fans The World Cup is a dead end. As we travel through our weeks and months our joys and disappointments The World Cup is always there, no more than four years, an event that we mark the stage of our lives by We first learned of it in childhood and we continue to yearn for it throughout our fall and winter. It might be the only thing other than the number of years we live that we can use to measure our age. I’m 43, but seeing the World Cup nine times is equally important.

When we watch the World Cup We are starting to notice some patterns that are repeated in each tournament. There are a number of teams that excite us at the beginning and then alleviate. Forged into ether like unintentional love, these are the “flames of the summer”, like Colombia in 2014 had a bad team. enough to win everything But it will ultimately give the World Cup winners the toughest stage of the entire journey: these are “goalkeepers” such as the resilient Argentina squad that France’s coach Jorge Sampaoli had to overcome in the last 16 in 2018. That side, which Sampaoli said would go out to play. “With a knife between the teeth” were defeated after an exhilarating duel in which they forced the French to risk the entire attack. That match, widely regarded as the best at that World Cup, was Kylian Mbappe—who took a penalty in the first half and scored twice in the second half of five minutes— His first leap to greatness This was the first time France looked like they could really be champions. There were also other teams, such as Senegal in 2002, who appeared on duty with more bragging than expected. and perform in such exciting ways that everything about them If only for a moment They are commonly known as “dark horses,” but I like to call them my phrases. Stadio Podcast co-host Ryan Hunn: “Failed Wedding”

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The most exact form is This is the moment when elite players—who influenced the game so much that it is almost a monument in their own right—prepare to play their final tournament. Winning the World Cup is an odd measure, and it may not even be fair. by which we assess the greatness of football players Because it is a path where opportunity plays an unusually important role. It means winning several games played over a month. provided that the person must be fortunate enough to be completely fit Then there is the team that fills them. Judging the greatness of a player at a World Cup is as ridiculous as it is. with judging university students based on exam results just one hour after five years of study

But this is where Leo Messi is now. Going to the World Cup he confirmed would be his last. in each season He has focused on both the tactics and spirit of the Argentinian team. From a young age as a twisted winger to his mid-career career as a no-team player 10 to his current incarnation as a more tolerant player. more central and withdrew from the position of playmaker Watching Messi in Argentina now feels like a panic that you’ve drank the last glass of best red wine: you enjoyed the trip. But you fear that you might not taste enough.

The last time football felt this pain was when Zinedine Zidane announced before the 2006 World Cup that this match would be his last appearance on the field. more Knowing that the defeat to France will be the end of Zidane. The night before the finals which France has access to a lot because of his ability. I spent the evening watching highlights of his career on YouTube, then took a walk near my flat. It’s a little embarrassing to reveal this. But when pondering I think I’m melancholy many years ago Zidane’s play was an escape. beauty is always No matter how hard my work week is I also know to be able to follow Saturday or Sunday to see him do at least one miracle for his club or country.

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just like messi There have been countless times over the past few years that I’ve taken a break from my desk for a walk through the city. And soon that break turned into a 90-minute abandonment of my job as I passed by a local pub and saw Messi. The team is about to start, Pep Guardiola told us long ago: “Always watch Messi” because one day we won’t be able to. I’ve probably never seen the northern lights in person. But watching the famous recluse Messi on those television screens is perhaps the closest I’ve come to to the wonders of that sky: the humming presence above us as we are. big don’t know The sparkling emptiness

As Messi prepares for his final dance He will do so with perhaps the strongest supporting cast he has ever had. Last year Argentina won the Copa America for the first time since 1993. Messi was He was part of a multi-talented national team—perhaps most notable in the 2006 World Cup qualifiers, which included Pablo Aimar, Carlos Tevez, Hernán Crespo, Javier Saviola and Juan Román Riquelme—but none of them were decisive. Here he can rely on the defensive excellence of Cristian Romero, the fearless and charismatic goalkeeper of Emi Martínez, the outstanding finishes of Lautaro Martínez and Julián Álvarez and the creative genius of Ángel Di María. at the end He had his faithful Lieutenant Rodrigo de Paul. Which always seems to be the first on the scene whenever Messi is threatened by opposing players.

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As in the iconic Maracana, the Copa America beat hosts Brazil. It’s a big step doubled for Messi, the player of the tournament. It meant that he claimed a senior position that surpassed even Diego Maradona, a man whose legend he was burdened to emulate or exceed—and also meant that he was relieved from a lot of pressure on the scale. one It was the first tournament that dynamically shifted from Messi carrying a team to a team carrying Messi. surprise in the first round He cut off his exhausted figure at the end of the finals. He missed the chance to decide the game in which he would score the most decisive points. Along the way, he had to use the strength of his teammates like never before: and one by one, Martinez taking the penalty. Bravely against Colombia or Di Maria with his winner against Brazil. They faced this challenge. Watching him fall at the final whistle Clearly Messi knows he can no longer be seen as a disadvantaged person in his country. Seeing him invade Estonia in the latest friendly game In which he scored all five goals in Argentina’s 5-0 win. Or set a strict direction to play against Italy in the finals. We can sense that someone is playing more freely in blue and white shirts than before.

How he will travel on the dance floor in Qatar remains to be seen. Defending champions France and Brazil as the other strongest contenders There are still many who believe he will have to go home with trophies to be regarded as the greatest footballer of all time. But Messi, who has been our strength for a long time, has found his own path through the universe and all that remains is our awe. and our sorrow on his last flight

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