Lionel Messi es un blanco fácil para los fallos colectivos de Argentina

Este artículo fue escrito en el 7/7/11

Tuvo la oportunidad. Con 10 minutos por jugar, Argentina tenía un tiro libre desde la esquina derecha de la área Colombiana. Lionel Messi apareció. Era su oportunidad para silenciar a las críticas, para marcar su regreso a su provincia de nacimiento con un gran pase, o tal vez hasta un gol. Para un zurdo, el ángulo era atractivo. Se acercó a la pelota – un paso, dos pasos, tres. El pie izquierdo retrocedió, y por encima, al lado y muy arriba se fue la bola. No fue ni tiro ni pase, solo una indicación de la falta de confianza que parece sumergir su juego cada vez que se pone la camisa albiceleste. Con paso pesado, camino hacia el vestuario después de un empate sin goles y unos cuantos espectadores haciendo “buu” ondeaban en el Estanislao López.

 Lo peor es que se suponía ser el regreso triunfador a casa. Messi pateo una pelota por primera vez solo unas 110 millas al sur. Algunos dicen que la abuela le dijo al entrenador que lo hiciera; Salvador Ricardo Aparicio mismo dice que necesitaba un jugador más y le pregunto a la abuela si el niño de cinco, quien se entretenía pateando una bola hacia una pared, quisiera jugar. Todos los que estuvieron allí en aquella cancha polvorosa en Rosario están de acuerdo que paso después. La bola le llego al niño con la camiseta que le quedaba demasiado grande. La toco levemente con su pie derecho. Pero cuando llego a su izquierdo, comenzó a manejar la bola “como si lo hubiese hecho toda su vida”, su abuela dice.

 La gente alrededor actuaba como si habían visto una visión. Aquí era un pibe en acción, la encarnación del ideal del fútbol Argentino. La figura es un arquetipo que corre desde los días más tempranos del futbol en Argentina, desde los días de la primera década del siglo veinte, cuando primero empezó a tener una identidad distinta a de los Ingleses que habían establecido el juego en el país.

 Si Argentina quisiera hacer una estatua de su espíritu futbolístico, Borocotó escribió en El Gráfico en 1928, debería de ser “un pibe de cara sucia, con una cabellera que le protestó al peine el derecho de ser rebelde; con los ojos inteligentes, revoloteadores, engañadores y persuasivos, de miradas chispeantes que suelen dar la sensación de la risa pícara que no consigue expresar esa boca de dientes pequeños, como gastados de morder el pan de ayer.”

 El verdadero pibe, claro, es Diego Maradona. Hasta Maradona acepta que Messi es su igual en habilidad, y tiene un similar físico de granuja. Pero notablemente, el cabello de Messi ya no protesta al peine – de hecho, su cabellera puede ser el cortado de pelo más sensible desde los días de Kevin Sheedy y Peter Davenport; un poco de disciplina Europea entro a su alma.

 Parece no importar mucho, pero no es insignificante. Messi se fue de Rosario hacia España cuando tenía 13, y parece que algunos hinchas Argentinos todavía no confían en él. En ese sentido se parece a otro nativo a Rosario que encontró fama en el extranjero pero no fue aceptado totalmente en casa: Che Guevara. Sin dudas, llegar a Barcelona ayudo a Messi, y no solo porque le aseguro las hormonas de crecimiento que Newell’s Old Boys no tenían el dinero para comprar. Fue protegido, no solo contra la tentación – Pep Guardiola, el entrenador de Barcelona B en ese momento, rápidamente surgió cuando comenzó a parrandear con Ronaldinho – pero también contra las maquinaciones de los agentes, que aún pueden destruir la carrera de su contemporáneo Carlos Tevez.

 Pero también quiere decir que cada vez que Messi no juega a un buen nivel con la selección – o, más bien, cada vez que la selección no juega a un buen nivel con Messi – es él que recibe la culpa. En parte, es natural para el mejor jugador en el equipo: él es la estrella, el genio, es su camisola que los vendedores afuera del estadio venden, por eso es su trabajo arrastrar al juego hacia su equipo. Pero también hay un sentimiento que por más que haga nunca será suficiente, que siempre habrá la sospecha que no da el todo para Argentina. Dado que tuvo la oportunidad de jugar con las selecciones menores de España y dijo no, parece algo injusto.

 Por un lado, el problema es generacional. Los hinchas jóvenes aceptan que los jugadores se van a Europa lo más pronto posible, pero los más viejos no les gusta que la primera se vuelva una liga más pequeña. Después del primer juego, un taxista dijo que Argentina debería de jugar con solo cuatro que jueguen en Europa para que el equipo jugara con orgullo.

 Había cantos para Messi antes del juego en Santa Fe, pero aun así, el canto para Tevez - un jugador más áspero y por eso el representante mas autentico del pibismo - fue más recio que el de Messi cuando las alineaciones fueron leídas. El anunciador del estadio encapsulo el sentimiento: ”Con la 10, el mejor del mundo, Lionel Messi. Y con la 11, el jugador del pueblo, Carlos Tevez.”

 Messi, en verdad, no pareció el mejor del mundo. Camino pareciendo más o menos inefectivo, tal vez sabiendo muy bien que cuando regresaba buscando la pelota no era Xavi o Iniesta cabalgando hacia el frente como en Barcelona, pero Esteban Cambiasso. Solo una vez, después de 34 minutos, cuando deslizo un pase filtrado haca Ezequiel Lavezzi, habría un destello brillante. Pero el delantero del Napoli, llamado el copiloto de Messi por Sergio Batista, estrello la bola en el arquero Luis Martínez.

 No fue la culpa de Messi, claro. Tevez, cuan popular que sea, no fue más efectivo. Este era un ambiente donde ningún jugador parecía cómodo, ansioso con la expectativa y oprimido por un sistema táctico que parece no convenirle a nadie. Igual que contra Bolivia, Batista cambio a un 4-2-1-3 más tarde, pero Messi parecía aún más incómodo como un enganche que como un nueve falso. Es un fallo colectivo, táctico y mental, y al fin Batista tendrá que tomar la responsabilidad. Pero es Messi, el pibe con modales Europeos,  que será el blanco más fácil.

Dream Teams in Barcelona - Which One Was the Best?
The 1990s Barcelona led by Johan Cruyff or the most recent version led by Pep Guardiola? Read here!

Dream Teams in Barcelona - Which One Was the Best?

The 1990s Barcelona led by Johan Cruyff or the most recent version led by Pep Guardiola? Read here!

This is a picture I took of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s debut for PSG against DC United
This is a picture I took of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s debut for PSG against DC United
Two of the best there ever have been. There aren’t too many players even in the same mold as Andrea Pirlo and Xavi Hernandez.
It has taken a lot for players of their type - deep lying playmakers who build attacks from the back - to get the recognition they rightfully deserve.
They deserve all the plaudits coming their way.

Two of the best there ever have been. There aren’t too many players even in the same mold as Andrea Pirlo and Xavi Hernandez.

It has taken a lot for players of their type - deep lying playmakers who build attacks from the back - to get the recognition they rightfully deserve.

They deserve all the plaudits coming their way.

I know this is obvious but LeBron is so much taller and beefier.

I know this is obvious but LeBron is so much taller and beefier.

Let’s Talk London: Football at the Summer Olympics
The Olympics will have a men’s tournament and a women’s tournament. The women’s tournament has no age restrictions, whereas the men’s tournament is primarily an under-23 competition (with 3 overage exceptions.)
In the women’s tournament, Japan, the United States, and Brazil remain the favorites.  Japan won the last World Cup, with the US coming second. Brazil are always talented and troubled the US. Sweden, France and Great Britain remain strong teams as well.
In the men’s tournament, the favorites are Spain and Brazil, with some very strong contenders following.
Spain have the core of the team that won the European U-21 competition last year, though they will be without Thiago, one of their key players, due to injury. They will also be resting overage players from Euro 2012.
Brazil, for their part, have the core that won the South American Youth Championship, as well as several talented overage players. They are the reigning U-20 world champions, too.
Uruguay and Mexico are two teams with strong football traditions that can shine in this tournament. Uruguay were second only to Brazil in South America, while Mexico won the qualification in North America.
Great Britain will have home advantage which could make them potentially dangerous. Switzerland, despite not being a renowned name in football, were second only to Spain in Europe.
Egypt underperformed in the qualifying but they might do well here. Gabon won the African qualification and are a good team as well. Japan and South Korea are not strangers to upsetting teams in the international stage, have an eye out for them as well.
All in all, it should be two fun competitions. It can be a time to see future stars as well as the current masters. The first game of the women’s tournament will be July 25, Great Britain vs. New Zealand. The first game of the men’s tournament will be July 26, Honduras vs. Morocco.
Predictions:
Men’s
Gold: Spain
Silver: Brazil
Bronze: Mexico
Women’s
Gold: United States
Silver: Japan
Bronze: Brazil

Let’s Talk London: Football at the Summer Olympics

The Olympics will have a men’s tournament and a women’s tournament. The women’s tournament has no age restrictions, whereas the men’s tournament is primarily an under-23 competition (with 3 overage exceptions.)

In the women’s tournament, Japan, the United States, and Brazil remain the favorites.  Japan won the last World Cup, with the US coming second. Brazil are always talented and troubled the US. Sweden, France and Great Britain remain strong teams as well.

In the men’s tournament, the favorites are Spain and Brazil, with some very strong contenders following.

Spain have the core of the team that won the European U-21 competition last year, though they will be without Thiago, one of their key players, due to injury. They will also be resting overage players from Euro 2012.

Brazil, for their part, have the core that won the South American Youth Championship, as well as several talented overage players. They are the reigning U-20 world champions, too.

Uruguay and Mexico are two teams with strong football traditions that can shine in this tournament. Uruguay were second only to Brazil in South America, while Mexico won the qualification in North America.

Great Britain will have home advantage which could make them potentially dangerous. Switzerland, despite not being a renowned name in football, were second only to Spain in Europe.

Egypt underperformed in the qualifying but they might do well here. Gabon won the African qualification and are a good team as well. Japan and South Korea are not strangers to upsetting teams in the international stage, have an eye out for them as well.

All in all, it should be two fun competitions. It can be a time to see future stars as well as the current masters. The first game of the women’s tournament will be July 25, Great Britain vs. New Zealand. The first game of the men’s tournament will be July 26, Honduras vs. Morocco.

Predictions:

Men’s

Gold: Spain

Silver: Brazil

Bronze: Mexico

Women’s

Gold: United States

Silver: Japan

Bronze: Brazil

Rangers FC will start in the lowest tier of Scottish football next season. After crippling financial problems and going into administration, the Rangers’ logo and stadium were bought by a new group.
They intend to give a rebirth to the club, but they were not accepted into the SPL. They were not accepted into the first or second divisions, either. They will have to play in the third division and slowly make their way back into the SPL.
This is a club with more national league titles than, I believe, anyone in the world. A club of rich history, and a heated rivalry with Celtic FC (“The Old Firm”.)
It is a shame that they have sunk to so low due to financial mismanagement.
To Celtic supporters, I ask, is there a strange feeling of sadness, rather than schadenfreude? I know at first you will feel happy that your hated rivals are so thoroughly defeated, but won’t the victories not feel as good?
Beating Rangers had a special feeling, that beating say, Hearts, will not have. But perhaps it doesn’t quite matter as much to Hoops fans, as Scotland’s big two are reduced to the big one.

Rangers FC will start in the lowest tier of Scottish football next season. After crippling financial problems and going into administration, the Rangers’ logo and stadium were bought by a new group.

They intend to give a rebirth to the club, but they were not accepted into the SPL. They were not accepted into the first or second divisions, either. They will have to play in the third division and slowly make their way back into the SPL.

This is a club with more national league titles than, I believe, anyone in the world. A club of rich history, and a heated rivalry with Celtic FC (“The Old Firm”.)

It is a shame that they have sunk to so low due to financial mismanagement.

To Celtic supporters, I ask, is there a strange feeling of sadness, rather than schadenfreude? I know at first you will feel happy that your hated rivals are so thoroughly defeated, but won’t the victories not feel as good?

Beating Rangers had a special feeling, that beating say, Hearts, will not have. But perhaps it doesn’t quite matter as much to Hoops fans, as Scotland’s big two are reduced to the big one.

Kepes Sport, a Hungarian sports magazine, published an interview with Lionel Messi. Great coup, right? Except for one small detail. According to the player himself, he never gave it.
With that in mind, here is Lionel Messi’s EXCLUSIVE interview with The Midfield Maestro!
TMM: Hello, Messi, I’m glad you have time to make it to our interview.
LM: Yes, ever since I was a small child I dreamed of being on this blog. I find your Tumblr to be of exceptional quality. It’s the Egg McMuffin of Tumblrs.
TMM: I’m not quite sure what that- anyway, I heard that your favorite band is Oasis. Is that truth or fiction?
LM: Fiction. My favorite band is a three-way tie between Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death, and Hanson.
TMM: I see. I’ve heard you sleep in a compression chamber with a monkey named Burbujas, and that you built a life-sized castle out of Legos, which you now live in. Is that correct?
LM: No, you got it mixed up. Must be from a Hungarian interview. The truth is, I sleep in a compression chamber made of Legos, that I built with the help of a gorilla named Burbujas. It upsets him when people call him a monkey. There is a difference, you know.
TMM: I see. In other news it says you here you scored over 70 goals last season. Now we both know that is humanely not possible. Therefore, is it true that you are a top-secret video game character designed by Nintendo, who went rogue and escaped the gaming world into our dimension?
LM: No… what a silly idea!
TMM: Are you sure?
LM: Yes… I mean… me? A product of Nintendo’s Top-Secret Project MK Ultra? The Fabled Weapon X?
TMM: I have no idea what you are talking about.
LM: All right, all right! It’s true! I am not a human but a perfect robotic killing machine.  I’m a cybernetic organism: living tissue over a metal endoskeleton. BOW BEFORE ME MORTAL!
TMM: That concludes this interview. Thank you for your time.
LM: A pleasure.
*Note: This interview didn’t actually happen.

Kepes Sport, a Hungarian sports magazine, published an interview with Lionel Messi. Great coup, right? Except for one small detail. According to the player himself, he never gave it.

With that in mind, here is Lionel Messi’s EXCLUSIVE interview with The Midfield Maestro!

TMM: Hello, Messi, I’m glad you have time to make it to our interview.

LM: Yes, ever since I was a small child I dreamed of being on this blog. I find your Tumblr to be of exceptional quality. It’s the Egg McMuffin of Tumblrs.

TMM: I’m not quite sure what that- anyway, I heard that your favorite band is Oasis. Is that truth or fiction?

LM: Fiction. My favorite band is a three-way tie between Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death, and Hanson.

TMM: I see. I’ve heard you sleep in a compression chamber with a monkey named Burbujas, and that you built a life-sized castle out of Legos, which you now live in. Is that correct?

LM: No, you got it mixed up. Must be from a Hungarian interview. The truth is, I sleep in a compression chamber made of Legos, that I built with the help of a gorilla named Burbujas. It upsets him when people call him a monkey. There is a difference, you know.

TMM: I see. In other news it says you here you scored over 70 goals last season. Now we both know that is humanely not possible. Therefore, is it true that you are a top-secret video game character designed by Nintendo, who went rogue and escaped the gaming world into our dimension?

LM: No… what a silly idea!

TMM: Are you sure?

LM: Yes… I mean… me? A product of Nintendo’s Top-Secret Project MK Ultra? The Fabled Weapon X?

TMM: I have no idea what you are talking about.

LM: All right, all right! It’s true! I am not a human but a perfect robotic killing machine.  I’m a cybernetic organism: living tissue over a metal endoskeleton. BOW BEFORE ME MORTAL!

TMM: That concludes this interview. Thank you for your time.

LM: A pleasure.

*Note: This interview didn’t actually happen.

Spain U19 Wins European Championship
1-0 over Greece thanks to Real Madrid’s Jese, who also finished top scorer. Barcelona’s Gerard Deulofeu gave the assist. He had a good tournament as well.
It’s scary to think Spain have more good players coming down the pipeline.
Watch out, world.

Spain U19 Wins European Championship

1-0 over Greece thanks to Real Madrid’s Jese, who also finished top scorer. Barcelona’s Gerard Deulofeu gave the assist. He had a good tournament as well.

It’s scary to think Spain have more good players coming down the pipeline.

Watch out, world.

This is a picture of a young Leo Messi.
According to Cesc Fabregas, Messi was so shy when he first arrived to Barcelona when he was just a child, his teammates thought he was mute.
Now he has gained confidence and even captains Argentina. To think such a shy, humble kid would turn out to be one of the biggest international stars!

This is a picture of a young Leo Messi.

According to Cesc Fabregas, Messi was so shy when he first arrived to Barcelona when he was just a child, his teammates thought he was mute.

Now he has gained confidence and even captains Argentina. To think such a shy, humble kid would turn out to be one of the biggest international stars!