Messy is how one can describe Lionel Messi’s current situation. After Argentina’s loss to Chile during the Copa America final, questions have been raised about his reception as the greatest footballer of all time.
His hasty retirement showed a side of him incongruent among the greats. He whined and sounded like a quitter. In fact, he literally quit after he failed to lead his team to victory and missed a crucial penalty.
Leaders don’t play the blame game but accept responsibility instead. The creative playmaker and team captain simply won’t have any of that.
It can be said that under similar circumstances, Maradona and Pele wouldn’t have done the same, but would forge on as they had during their time.
Lionel Messi’s God-given talent cannot be questioned. He is so agile that his movements and directions are hard to predict. He is the only player who can run faster with the ball than without it, as Pep Guardiola would say.
He is a prolific scorer, a great playmaker, and Argentinian president Mauricio Macri called him “God’s gift to Argentina.” Urging him not to quit the national team.
There is no doubt he was born to play football. But talent is one thing; greatness within an athlete is another. And there is no need to discuss his inadequacy in international competitions in comparison with Diego Maradona or Pele.
His former manager Carlos Bilardo even went a step further, saying he is only the best just for this moment.
Now, beyond the field, a Spanish court has charged Lionel Messi and his father for three counts of tax fraud, handing them a 21-month prison term with subsequent damages. It just gets messy as his credibility, too, gets hit.
The court’s ruling now threatens Messi’s stock as sponsors could subsequently dissociate themselves from him due to his fraudulent acts.
A recent interview conducted shows that most football fans have a negative view on Messi. 47% of the survey conducted thinks he shouldn’t be allowed to play football while on probation.
Sponsors such as Adidas, Turkish Airlines, Huawei, Pepsi, EA Sports, PepsiCo, Lays and Gillette is awaiting more information following his conviction before issuing any statement regarding their partnership.
Adverse judgments from sponsors could spell economic trouble for an athlete whose reputation and place in football history is taking a heavy penalty as surely as he missed his.
Photo courtesy: Funnydae/Wikipedia