In the previous post I got so carried away making jokes and talking about racism that I forgot to include another lil’ nugget I dug up from the Supercopa—Messi is getting mean. Fucking finally.
In the first game Messi looked sick, but in the second he looked for a fight:
The lil’ dude has an immaculate reputation for being a squeaky clean player, an angel, an altar boy, a saint, a Golden Child. This reputation is crucial to the Messi™ brand and so it will never be seriously challenged by the media, but to me it’s looking a little cracked. This is an unequivocally good thing: I hate golden boys.
Maybe he’s just getting older. Maybe he’s sick of taking knocks and being pushed around all the time. Maybe this, maybe that. Point is, Messi’s getting angry. I like him better that way.
I first glimpsed it in one of last year’s clasicos, when Messi booted a ball into the stands at the Bernabeu.
I was watching the game at a bar with my cousin, a Barca fan, when he did this. We both presumed he was innocent, that he was trying to keep it in and simply mishit it. I remember my cousin said that Messi wouldn’t do something like that; he’s not that kind of player; he never does that sort of thing. At the time I agreed, and it certainly would have been true as recently as a year or two ago. But having reviewed it closely in hindsight, it’s clear we were wrong. Messi hits the ball with his favored left foot, and hard. This would be normal if he weren’t going the wrong way. The angle is impossible for the kind of strike he made. If his intention really was to keep the ball in play he would have booted it downfield with his right foot or controlled it with a soft touch from the outside of his left. He did it wrong in too many ways to have been innocent. Players of his caliber don’t make mistakes like that unless they want to.
His sullenness has only gone up since then. Failure in Copa America no doubt played a part. Not only did the Little Magician lose, he faced an unprecedented level of criticism from people who are at least nominally supposed to be rooting for him. Argentina fans have never loved Messi the way Barca fans do, and their expectations are greater. While wearing blaugrana Messi is an undisputed star and legend, in albiceleste he’s playing in the shadow of a man who won a World Cup practically by himself. Talk about pressure.
That pressure, frustration, and anger must be accumulating inside him, fermenting into bitterness and hatred, corroding his insides and turning the Golden Boy into rust. (I don’t know or care if gold gets rusty. Even if it doesn’t, fuck you anyway. I prefer my metaphors mixed, thank you.)
This transformation should be celebrated. Gold is pretty and all that, sure. But rust is dangerous. A gold bar may stub your toe. Step on a rusty nail and it could kill you.
A different metaphor/analogy: Messi was a dove, but he’s turning into a hawk. Hawks eat doves.