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My Two Cents

My Two Cents

August 10, 2016
Lionel Messi -- a final roll call

Vish Murthy is a soccer fan from Princeton, N.J.

By Vish Murthy
Special to

Wednesday, Aug. 10, bodes to be a very critical day for a world given to international football or soccer.

This is the day a certain meeting is scheduled to take place, perhaps on camera, between two men whose reverberations may change the entire course of history for a certain global favorite and that of his nation.

The newly instituted coach of Argentina, Edgardo Bauza will attempt to capture the hopes of fans all over the world in making a huge lunge at Lionel Messi’s heart strings; to get him to believe once again in his nation’s Albiceleste colors and to lead that great footballing country towards a World Cup victory, which will put once and for all an irrevocable stamp that Lionel Messi is the greatest footballer there has ever been.

Whether Messi will bite on the line thrown at him will all depend on how Bauza carries that day with him. No one has any clue on how Messi feels about the situation and what his final answer is going to be. This, in spite of the fact that Argentina president Mauricio Macri made his overtures earlier and in spite of Argentine paper Ole proclaiming with a degree of certainty (based on what?) that Messi would return. Truth be told, no one has a clue on Messi.

The great and colorful sportscaster of our times, Ray Hudson of beIn Sports, whom I believe knows a lot of the mentality of Spanish football and particularly about the state of Messi, spoke categorically earlier, stating Messi was not a type who returns.

For Bauza, the moments of this meeting will be one of the greatest challenges of his lifetime, because he will confront not an ordinary person, but a genius, and geniuses are never easy to fathom, one never really knowing what works out for them.

This writer happens to know a thing or two about geniuses and their complications, living in the confines of the nearby Princeton cemetery, where one gets to visit the grave sites that carry many a haunting memory of many a revered but complicated life: Kurt Gödel, John Von Neumann, John Nash – take your pick. Their inner thrashings reveal themselves in as sublime a manner as one’s own journey walks through their works and lets the voices do the talking. There’s is "a beautiful mind" out there with each and every one of them. While for some it is overlaid with demons, for others like Lionel Messi it may rest simple but deep in the uncomplicated warmth of one’s privacy and silence, with but only occasional manifestations of an emotional show to the public.

When it comes to a relation with a "man-child" (as many close to Messi have accounted for his withdrawn self) you need the forces of another powerful mind, to stick very close to you, to interpret for you and to draw out the best in you. In Messi’s world, such a person in the past was Pep Guardiola. Now, perhaps Louis Enrique who learned a lesson or two, the very hard way, that you do not head-butt against the likes of Messi.

Those who constantly watch Messi, week after week in Barcelona, and then see Messi with the Argentinian team cannot but come away befuddled at how Messi shows two contrasting patterns with two different teams and why there is so much successful expectation with one and an amount of frustration with another.

With Barcelona, you see a lot of "joi de vivre" or "jogo bonita" from members of an entire team pivoting around a fulcrum called Messi, you get to see only a forlorn Messi with the Argentinian team injecting himself once in a while, where each player does their own with neither eye on rhythm nor cohesion.

Bauza brings a certain hope (other than just being from Rosario, Messi’s home town) that he really knows something about Messi and his play, and that he will change things for him.

To Lionel Messi, I would simply say “Please just come back Leo! Set all the past, aside. Destiny is offering you a great chance. Why short circuit your own glorious career?”

"The opinions reflected in the My Two Cents columns do not express the views of the editors or management of BigAppleSoccer. com"
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