Lionel Messi has turned laziness into an art. Nor is it slow. But it is to his advantage that others believe it. And, above all, his game is favored by a tired and reflective style, because the speed of the golden ages is gone, but the technique and interpretation of the game are still at a very high level. As expected. At 20, they criticized him for being too fast and always looking to solve plays quickly. Even now, there is no shortage of people pointing out that he is walking on the grass lately.
Normal. Earlier, all the power in the world was at his feet. Now, at 36, it’s different. It’s because everything has already happened: the world champion and the rest. No debt to himself. Today he enjoys sports and makes up for the non-running kilometers with intelligence. This is how he controls the game in Major League Soccer. It’s all documented on video as it takes Messi seconds before scoring the opening goal in the League Cup final between Inter Miami and Nashville SC.
In the shot, Messi looks out of sorts. He walks leisurely as if apathetic and disinterested in playing. The ball is in a different place and the players around it are playing at a different pace. It even gives the impression that he’s not the star of the game —but they booked him with private surveillance for a reason, even though he didn’t do “anything.” Don’t worry, everything blew up within ten seconds and, importantly, it made sense.
Messi made a run to get close to the area. Without pressure, with complete freedom, he lost his presence as other players chased the ball. He expected everyone to undress himself and they didn’t notice. The video reveals. Messi appears on the right as the game camera pans to him and makes a move to receive, then make a feint that clears defender Walker Zimmermann and, of course, settles the ball in the right spot.
And let no one be confused. It’s not a matter of lack of attitude, in fact, it has nothing to do with the speed at which MLS plays. He did it in the World Cup as well. In the match against Mexico, Messi took a few seconds to leave the game, ignored it, and let others lose their heads because their goal fueled them. That’s why he only got and defined that left leg tattoo in everyone’s memory. That is the Lionel Messi of today.
That, beware, continues to show signs of that long-haired young man who entered Barcelona on the run. You can ask Josep Guardiola, the best defender of the last World Cup, who couldn’t take the ball away from Messi because of his rhythm or reading of the game. Quality is never lost. Speed, perhaps. But Messi has replaced it with a shrewdness that guarantees superiority over his rivals. Before, he ran faster than others. Think and act with predictability like no other.
This is how the mind of a genius works. Messi has been one since childhood till today. But his genius was designed for the times. The people who enjoy it are the fans, people who don’t have the prejudices that have prevented them from enjoying the best soccer in the world for the last twenty years. There is a lot of Messi to watch. Won’t happen. Think and play.
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