The golden ball for his own country and the remarkable career of Lionel Messi

Most years, Messi defeats his opponents with outstanding achievements in the Los Blaugrana shirt. For example, the «treble» (La Liga, King’s Cup and UEFA Champions League) in 2009 and 2015, or the «double» of La Liga and Champions League in the 2010-11 season. There was also a season where La Pulga won thanks to extraordinary individual performance. A typical example is the record of 91 goals scored in 2012.

The golden ball with the most blue and white imprint (Argentina team colors) of Messi is the title in 2021. In this year, La Pulga led Albiceleste to win the Copa America championship after nearly 30 years of waiting by 4 goals and 5 assists for his teammates, and he also won the title of Best Player of the tournament.

However, Messi will not be able to win the 2021 Golden Ball if he does not lead Barcelona to the King’s Cup championship as well as win the La Liga top scorer title with 30 goals. Of course, this is the year La Pulga’s strongest opponents such as C. Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski or Karim Benzema did not achieve good results.


Only this year, 2023, Messi will win the Golden Ball title entirely as an Argentine player. La Pulga’s achievements in the Paris Saint Germain shirt in the second half of the 2022-23 season are insignificant, even forgettable.

The inspiration he created in America in the Inter Miami shirt was magical but could not compare in professional quality to the top European leagues.

The highlight, of course, is the 2022 World Cup championship. Imprinted in 10/15 goals, Messi not only brought Argentina to the top of the world for the first time since Mexico 1986, but he also equaled his great predecessor Diego Maradona at the World Cup. that year’s tournament in terms of how it overshadowed the biggest football tournament on the planet.

Alongside the terrifying performance is the awe-inspiring visuals. Messi is more brave and thorny. Messi’s teammates also have a fighting spirit and accept more sacrifices for their great captain.

Criticizing Messi’s lack of bravery, criticizing Messi for lacking leadership qualities or all criticism directed at the Argentine superstar will all be dispelled after the 2022 World Cup. Messi was great at the club level and now, he is even greater at the club level. National team.

The story of Messi and Argentina is even more touching because before becoming the next living saint of Tango football, La Pulga was an unclaimed child. Many compatriots have harshly called him «a Catalan in the Argentine team», even though after many years of leaving, Messi still carries his homeland with him in their hearts.

The emotional passage titled «Lionel’s Suitcase» translated below will partly outline the story. The author of the article is writer Hernan Casciari, who closely followed both Messi’s career and life journey, from the time he was a shy, stunted teenager when he set foot in the strange and distant land of Catalonia until lifting the World Cup gold trophy in Qatar.

On Saturday mornings in 2003, TV3 de Cataluna always showed live matches of the Barca youth team. Argentine immigrants would sit in front of the screen and mainly talk about two topics.

Firstly, how to prepare caramel by boiling a can of condensed milk. Second, the hometown boy Rosario has scored in all the matches of the Barca youth team. What time will they play?


In the 2003-04 season, a year before being promoted to Barca’s first team, Messi scored 35 goals in just 37 matches for Barca’s youth team. Therefore, the Saturday morning ratings of television stations showing live matches of the Barca youth team soared and skyrocketed, even surpassing the peak hour ratings.

From the hairdresser, the bar to the stands from the training ground to the great Camp Nou, there is always a lively conversation about «aquest nen» (that kid in Argentinian).

The only person who didn’t speak was… that kid. In post-match interviews, Messi simply answered all questions with the words «yes», «no» or «thank you», then lowered his eyes and avoided all eyes. We Argentinian immigrants prefer the rough-and-tumble and dusty style.

But there’s one very interesting thing: Messi’s pronunciation is distinctly Argentinian, he connects long sentences with the letter S (pronunciation: eses), calls fouls ful instead of falta in Spanish. We breathed a sigh of relief when we discovered that this kid was like us, the ones who refused to put their suitcases away.

There are two types of Argentine immigrants. The first type «puts the suitcase» in the closet immediately after moving to Spain. They pronounce it sweetly like native speakers. The second type is people like us, stubborn immigrants who refuse to put away the suitcase that has packed our entire homeland inside.

We maintain the customs and traditions of our homeland, such as drinking mate tea, holding meat and water parties, and using many Tango dialects. We call rain yuvia instead of lluvia, we call falling caye instead of cayo. That’s the typical Argentinian yeísmo intonation.

Then time passed, people’s hearts were filled with thoughts, Messi became a symbol, the inviolable «number 10» at Barca. La Liga, King’s Cup and Champions League are busy. And Messi and we both understand how difficult it is not to have an accent when traveling far away.


It’s difficult to maintain a strong hometown accent, such as calling dribbling gambeta instead of regate. Don’t think it’s just a synonym. Gambeta is a beautiful simile that reminds of movements in dance.

And regate in Spanish means to avoid. Language becomes the last trench to maintain our homeland identity, and Messi is the leader. Fortunately, Messi speaks little but does not make noise. He still retains the lively Argentinian way of speaking.

Therefore, the pleasure is indescribable when witnessing the greatest player ever pronouncing a word without mistake and using one of our idioms without mistake in interviews.

Besides, Messi always carries a pot of mate tea with him into the Barca dressing room, a vivid proof that Argentine blood has never stopped flowing in his veins.

Remember, the Argentine flag still flies every time Messi and Barcelona win the Champions League. He stubbornly defied all threats from the Catalan team’s leadership to join the Argentine Olympic team in attending the 2008 Olympics and winning the gold medal.

Every Christmas, Messi is always present in his hometown of Rosario despite his tight schedule in Europe. We, the expatriate children, are very proud and impressed by what Messi has done. It is difficult to describe the great joy he brought to the lives of Argentine immigrants in the early 2000s.

Messi frees us from the dullness, monotony and boredom in foreign lands. Messi sets direction, Messi inspires pride, Messi brings pride to each of us. So much so that when insults began to appear in his far away hometown, we couldn’t understand it.

When Messi announced his farewell to the national team, he still could not escape the burning hell of criticism. We ourselves also writhed because of that bitter fire. And I secretly thought, thanks to that terrible incident, it led to a rare event in soccer history…

One afternoon in 2016, when little Lionel felt exhausted by the insults and decided to stop, a 15-year-old boy from his hometown wrote touching letters to his unjust idol: «Please Think about staying. But stay to roam, that’s what these people want to take away from you.» 7 years later, the boy who wrote the letter won the 2022 World Cup with Messi. He is Enzo Fernandez.

Returning to the Argentina team, as Messi explains, is partly so that young men like the boy who wrote him a letter do not believe that letting go is a choice in life. And when he returned, Messi put all his detractors to shame. After winning the Copa America, there is the World Cup championship that the whole nation has been waiting for.

Some fans who are used to Messi’s measured, meek image may feel shocked by the way he roars vulgar words in front of the camera lens. «What are you looking at, go away, you idiot!», La Pulga shouted at the Dutch striker.

However, for us, those who have listened to the curse passionately for the past 15 years are always happy and proud every time Messi pronounces all the S sounds and uses the yeísmo dialect. We are proud to confirm that Messi is the one who brings happiness to people far from home like us.

Today, some migrants have returned, and others remain. We all enjoyed the image of Messi returning home with the World Cup trophy in a suitcase he never put away. That great feat would never have happened if 15-year-old Lionel immediately put his suitcase in the closet.

Messi has never identified himself as Spanish, even though he has spent more time in this country than in his homeland. Messi never forgets that he is Argentine, whether in his voice, his mind or his breath. On his return, the only thing that changed about Messi was what he put in his suitcase.


Argentines feel somewhat strange about the previous 7 Golden Balls won by La Pulga. But this time, the 8th Golden Ball, Messi won as an absolute Argentinian. He not only shines in the Los Albiceleste shirt but also exudes the dusty temperament of a son of Tango.

After all, through many storms in life, with times when he was seemingly unable to recover, Messi has proven his bravery with the most glorious victories. Copa America, World Cup and now the Golden Ball.

No one dares to criticize Messi for his lack of bravery. No one even dared to mock him as «a Catalan in the Argentine team». That ending was so perfect. But now is the time for everyone to realize that Messi’s playing time is running out.

It’s difficult for La Pulga to win the Golden Ball again. The blessing of witnessing the most outstanding talent in the history of soccer competition is also gradually drying up. Feel lucky to have enjoyed Messi for nearly 2 decades.

As writer Hernan Casciari still rewards and regrets himself in another famous article titled «Messi es un perro» (Messi is a dog). In conclusion, he wrote:

«I appreciate football, I get nostalgic from the present every time Messi plays. I am a passionate fan of this historical space and time. Because, for me, if there is a Last Judgment Day At the end of football, fans of every generation will gather in heaven to talk about this sport.

One person will say: «I studied in Amsterdam in 1973». Another said: «I was an architect in Sao Paulo in 1962. And another: «I spent my exciting teenage years in Naples in 1987. And my father would say: «I went to Montevideo in 1967, and before that, I listened to the eerie silence at the Maracana in 1950.»

Everyone will proudly count the great moments until midnight. And when no one else speaks, I will stand up and slowly share: «I lived in Barcelona in the era of ‘a dog’. The space was silent.

The others bowed slightly. And God appeared dressed as the Judge and pointed at me and said: ‘You, chubby guy, you will be redeemed. The rest should be baptized immediately’!».

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