The only thing which stood between him and a shot at glory was 30 yards. Time and space had momentarily come to a halt. Lionel Messi, the great player that he is, must have dreamt about this moment since the time he felt the ball on his feet.
Such a moment hardly comes in a lifetime, when half of the world is praying at that point so that you succeed and create a new history in the colossal theatre of humankind.
The most anticipated match, which comes once in every four years, is the football World Cup final, where new heroes and legends are born. Football is known and followed all over the globe. A following and madness of such kind are hard to come by in any other event.
Similar stages have seen the likes of many greats come to life and even fade away like Zinedine Zidane, Diego Maradona, Ronaldo, Pele and many others. These greats have got their names etched in everyone’s memories.
The current World Cup in Brazil started off with a relentless hunger for goals which the tournament had never seen in its 84 years of history. It was raining goals with the average goals shooting up to four per match in the initial two weeks. The goal storm eventually subsided as the World Cup neared its end.
This tournament also saw spirited play and even contests between all teams. Although the big names reached the semi-finals, they had to toil hard against the minnows and get past them.
Finally, an age-old rivalry was re-kindled on the World Cup finals stage. Although Germany had most of the possession, Argentina created more chances than them. Argentine forward Gonzalo Higuain failed to capitalise on two easy chances. Even the Argentine star Lionel Messi was kept silent for most part of the match.
When he was left one on one with the German goalkeeper Manuel Noer, Messi came up with a poor, low and off-target shot. After Mario Goetze scored in the dying moments of the match, the Germans were already on the verge of being champions.
Only one man could have spoilt their night – The left-footed genius sporting the famous number 10 jersey, which Maradona once carried on a similar stage to win the cup for his team 28 years ago.
Messi’s team won a free-kick in the 120th minute. Even the referee was eagerly waiting for his free kick with the final whistle on his lips. Messi had done it before, but this would be different from the rest. As he kicked the ball, it flew, but with the Argentine’s disappointment, without any aim and purpose. As the ball flew way over the goal post, Messi looked distraught. The rest is now history.
Messi was named the player of the tournament; many may argue this was not a wise decision. The Dutch winger Arjen Robben was more inspirational on the field. Messi’s counterparts, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Mascherano, performed way better than him throughout the knock-out stages. Was FIFA blind to recognise their efforts or was it too mesmerised with the lack-lustre Messi?
“Messi? I would give him heaven if possible. But it’s not right when someone wins something that he shouldn’t have won just because of some marketing plan.”
- Diego Maradona on Messi winning the Golden Ball
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