Lionel Messi is widely considered as the greatest footballer to have ever played the game. His superhuman abilities with a football have wowed us for the best part of a decade. But something has changed now. The Messi we see today is not the Messi from a few years ago. And what we may realize is that we are the reason for it. The Messi today insults players, insults referees and waves imaginary cards after a bad tackle on him. He is more human. We have made Messi more human but is it really worth it ?
People used to rave about Messi’s exemplary behavior on the field. For someone who faces a lot of rash challenges, he was always someone that maintained his composure in contrast to his eternal rival Ronaldo’s dramatics on field. Coaches told their players to follow Messi’s lead as a model professional. Play football like Messi.
Well not anymore !
While Ronaldo has toned down his theatrics considerably, Messi has completely change. It is as if the beard that he now sports has made him embrace the dark arts of the game. Now Messi rolls around on the ground ala Luis Suarez. Messi dives ala Neymar. He snaps back at linesmen when decisions do not go his way. His infamous outburst against the referee and subsequent ban made headlines news.
And then came that celebration against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. Yes it was a huge goal for his team, but this was not the first time Messi had scored such a huge goal. He has made a career of it. Back in the day you could see the joy in his eyes when Messi celebrated goal. Now there is a glint of steel and a hint of anger in the eyes of the great Argentine.
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You could trace this change in Messi ever since he missed that penalty last year in the Copa America final. Something snapped inside him. Probably the disappointment of losing a third final in four years coupled with the constant criticsm that he faces from his fellow Argentines just got to him.
The superhuman Messi now suddenly seemed human. He made mistakes. He does get affected. And we are the reason behind it. We made him this way. We have dragged him for the heavens and made him mortal.
The innocence of the twinkle toed little genius is no more. In its place has come this stone cold killer who could care less about what the world thinks if him. We have made Messi more human but is it really worth it ?