Since Leo Messi left, Barça have been eliminated from the group stage of the Champions League two years in a row. Whoever says that the Argentine is overrated, that he is a fraud, needs to be reminded of this. Barça won many games because Leo appeared. No tactics, no blackboard, no square, no rhombus. A foul at the front of the area, an isolated play, an absurd ball… no matter how apathetic he seemed, no matter how absent, no matter how little he was participating, it could be enough.
The deception, Messi’s trick, continues to have an effect. Because Argentina had arrived in Qatar as one of the candidates for the title only because he is there. He lost the first match against Saudi Arabia and this Saturday, against Mexico, without playing absolutely anything, he has fixed it again. They are still alive thanks to him even though the only thing he did was the goal in the second half.
In the first match that seemed, really, due to the atmosphere, worthy of a World Cup, the most important thing was missing: football. Argentina and Mexico have had a horrible, scary first half. With a blocked game, full of inaccuracies, without ideas and with five changes from the debut against Saudi Arabia – including three of the four defenders -, Scaloni’s men have come out flat, without soul. Messi has not even been seen. In the second half at least they seemed to have pulse and the screams of the star, this “C’mon C’mon” addressed to the stands and his teammates after scoring the goal, they have taken us out of our lethargy.
Will Messi be enough for Argentina to go far in Qatar? I doubt it, really. Because just like what happened to Barça in recent years, no matter how good and great it is, no matter how much it can decide a single game, in the end something more is needed when the opponent is of a level and not a mediocre team like Mexico . Messi’s main trick is to make us believe that his presence alone can work miracles and that he doesn’t need anything around him other than someone to pass him the ball. The Argentina of 86, with a stratospheric Maradona, was infinitely better than the one now, there is no comparison possible. But Messi will continue to defy logic and reason. Because he is him. The magician, the genius, the one who knows how to do the trick better and more times than anyone without being guessed. Argentina is still alive thanks to Messi. And that’s a lot.