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La Liga: From “La Pulga” to “Dios”

“The day you think there is no improvement to be made is a sad day for any player. You can overcome anything if and only if you love something enough…”

Football is a sport. There are players, good players, and great players. Hundreds of games are played across the globe, thousands of goals are scored, some teams win, some lose. But is that all? Is that everything about Football? Is Football such a routine and mediocre experience? Well, is there anything beyond?

“I believe the target of anything in life should be to do it so well that it becomes an art. When you read some books they are fantastic, the writer touches something in you that you know you would not have brought out of yourself. He makes you discover something interesting in your life. If you are living like an animal, what is the point of living? What makes daily life interesting is that we try to transform it into something that is close to art.”

- Arsene Wenger.

Once we consider Art as Self Expression, maybe there is some room for Art to exist in Sport too. Maybe beyond just being a player, there is room for self-expression.

The Internet is full of videos of youngsters and freestylers doing extravagant skills. Is that real football? Is that art?

No. In this world, the most beautiful things are born out of simplicity. Often the most beautiful mathematical proof is the one which is the most elegant and elegance comes from simplicity. Mere complexity doesn’t mean efficacy.

In a sport like Football, winning is considered of ultimate importance. But is winning trophies the only reason we watch sport? Sure, seeing our team lift the trophy is the highest pleasure. But then why don’t we just wake up and check the scores?

I believe we watch the sport because it transcends just “results”. Pep once said, “In the end, titles are just numbers and numbers are boring”. We watch Football because we expect something more than just winning.

16th November 2003. Barcelona is playing Porto. 74-minute mark and a young boy in an oversized shirt and long hair came on. Many must have seen this moment live. That kid was Lionel Andres Messi.

This was the moment the game was changed forever, it was a new era.

THIS kid Ladies and Gentlemen is the one to watch, the one who answers these questions. Lionel Andres Messi, once a kid kicking a football around in the streets of Rosario, is now the Greatest of All Times. Leo Messi personifies the orgasmic pleasure of watching football. His game is ecstasy. When he touches the ball, wonders happen. Spaces are created, defenses are broken, goals scored and records shattered. Concepts like Numerical Superiority are rendered meaningless and tactics become useless. But that’s not all.

When Lionel Messi plays, he doesn’t do any extravagant skill. Yet he is the most effective. He plays to win. But more importantly, he plays because that is what JOY is for him. That is Self Expression for him. Most people feel they rise in their own eyes when others want them. People want their surroundings to give them a meaning instead of them giving their surroundings a meaning through their actions. Funny, that it’s actually other’s recognition that satisfies people’s “ego” and not self-expression. And then there is Messi. He plays because that’s what HE likes, it’s his choice. And yet, that isn’t a compromise for winning. Playing football is his obsession.

Messi is truly a Pragmatic Artist.

When he touches the ball, immediately all the probabilities are evaluated in his brain. Football comes to him naturally. Messi dribbles not as an end but as means to some other end. He shoots when he feels it is right. He passes when he finds someone else in a better position than him. And that makes him one of a kind. His brain and heart work together and a masterpiece is created.

That’s Leo Messi. He takes this Sport to a whole new level. He makes it a religious experience to watch him play. We have seen great players and great artists. Lionel though, is something else, a Genius. He is a gift. This century has been Messi’s era. We are merely a part of HIS world.

Today, Messi is 30. In the next 4 years, he will be 34 and we are all going to cry about it. Thus, cherish his every touch, every pass, every goal. Consider yourself lucky, that the earth is 4.5 billion years old and we somehow managed to exist in Messi’s era. Enjoy every moment of it Ladies and Gentlemen, because that’s what he stands for, the Joy. THIS IS TRULY ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE.

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