Dear, Lionel Messi
You helped me fall in love with football and I am grateful that I was born in the same period as you. I first watched you play on television on a beautiful day during the 2010 World Cup. You were a young man of just 23.
Negative comments about your shortcomings have been made many times throughout the years, yet you’ve grown stronger because of them. I can still remember the heated discussions we had over who was the best player in high school. You or CR7, I’ve always thought both of you are fantastic in your own right; but, those El Clásico matchups were really special, and I miss seeing you and Ronaldo go head to head.
That year, 2014, was a nightmare that broke you and all of your followers across the globe. One night at 4 a.m., I went to sleep with a sorrowful heart and crying eyes, certain that it was just another pipe dream that would never come true. But then I remembered how you fought until the end, defending your only dream despite all the success you’d had in your life.
Seeing you cry onscreen as you said goodbye to Barcelona and the place you belong broke my heart. I still hold out hope that you will return there soon if at all possible.
I’ve never seen God, but in you, Leo, I’ve seen my God. Your dribbles, your commitment, the magic you weave with that left foot of yours, and the beautiful passes and assists you provide have elevated you to the status of a godlike being.
I prayed for a downpour of happiness during this year’s World Cup in Qatar. I’m grateful that my hopes were not dashed. Seeing all my favourite players, many of whom I grew up with, sign off during the World Cup was devastating, but my will to survive until I saw you hoist the trophy kept me going. My trust in “We will be Champions” was rekindled when you promised that Argentina will battle back after our devastating loss to Saudi Arabia in the first match. You are like the phoenix, rising from the ashes.
I spent many a restless night worrying about you. But it was all for nothing since my heart leapt with excitement at every one of your goals. Every game was a fight that seemed hopeless at first. But you and your squad always came out on top, and that made me grin even wider than usual.
The Argentine team’s defenders—including De Paul, Otamendi, Acua, and Emiliano—served as walls, shielding their team and snatching the ball away from the opponents and giving it to you so that you could score, making it seem as though the entire universe was aligned to help you win the World Cup this time. However, it seemed that players like Alvarez, and Enzo were successfully following in your footsteps, giving me confidence in Argentina’s long-term prospects.
As I write this, I am filled with mixed emotions: on the one hand, I am happy that your probable final game in a World Cup will be remembered by people all over the world as a remarkable game that created history, but on the other hand, I am sad that I may never again see you play for your country in that blue and white striped jersey in a World Cup.
To win the World Cup, even God needed a little assistance from his friends, and I imagine that Di Mara and Scaloni were your guardian angels. You are the greatest football player of all time, but you are also an exceptional human person. I think the world appreciates you even more because of this.
It’s still hard to believe that my favourite player won the one major trophy remaining for him to win, and if football is an art, then you are one of its greatest artists, holding aloft the World Cup. The creative force behind a global movement, the “magician” (or “magic man,” in Peter Drury’s words) who won over fans with his unwavering commitment to his craft.
The boy from Rosario, Argentina, may now rule the hearts of millions, but his path to the top wasn’t smooth; it was paved with bittersweet experiences. Such is life, though; a series of light and darkness, as I often say, and yet we must press on, just as he did, until we reach the light at the end of the tunnel and find that it has, in turn, welcomed him.
The words I’ve tried to come up with fall short of expressing how I feel; maybe this is how it is to experience the awe and wonder of seeing something so grand, so unique, so beautiful that it defies description. What a wonderful and overpowering sensation it is to see Argentina and Messi hoist the World Cup.
I have no idea what the future holds, and I highly doubt I will ever love another person as much as I love LM10, but football is lucky to have you, Leo.
I will always remember you as the one who made all the difference, the one who stood out, the champion of this football universe, even if others will come and go with their own thoughts and views. Now, as a Barcelona fan, as a Lionel Messi fan, I am hoping out against hope that you return back to your home, the Spotify Camp Nou next year. What an emotional sight will that be!
- From a FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi fan