58 Days Until The World Cup

13 04 2010

Maybe we’re all talking too much about Messi … let me think … naaawww. The guy is unbelievable. I’ve been following soccer since 1994 and I’m having a hard time thinking of anyone I’ve seen who is better. He’s on a whole other level. Well anyways, the countdown continues. Article below. Link to article here.

Messi’s talent matching his potential
By Julio Lara, Daily Journal Staff
This is how I know I’m not the only one blowing Argentinean star Lionel Messi’s soccer brilliance out of proportion: while sitting at my desk last week as Barcelona and Arsenal played their Champions League game, I decided to follow the game via Twitter. While I knew this would spoil my DVR experience later that night, the truth is I had to know what No. 10 was doing.Within minutes, comments about Messi started threading on the Web site. As he single-handedly dismantled Arsenal, Messi’s thread even surpassed that of the great Justin Bieber — on Twitter, that is truly a marvelous feat.

Some of my favorites Messi tweets included:

@alecko11: “I don’t have a dog at the moment, but when I do get one I have decided that his name is going to be ‘Messi.’”

@tyduffy: “Not old enough to have watched Maradona in his prime, but guessing it was something like this.”

@JamesPJennings: “Is Lionel Messi the Black Smoke on Lost???”

@JenChang88: “Well there are worse ways to go out in the CL. At least Arsenal fans can say ‘We’d have won if they didn’t have Messi.’”

@TheBigLead: “Argentina soccer history (I think): 1978— Won World Cup. 1986 — Hand of God goal, won World Cup. 1987 — Messi born.”

And my two cents after watching him score four ridiculous goals:

@julitolara: “The only thing #ChuckNorris is afraid of: #LionelMessi.”

The writers at theoffsiderules.blogspot.com have more great tweets on their web site.

Despite his brilliance, at the league level you have to wonder if we are setting Messi up for disaster. The build-up and hype behind this is guy is gigantic with people already saying he’s the best player of all-time — and the kid is only 22 years old.

It’s the comparisons to Maradona and Pele that has the world expecting nothing less than brilliant during South Africa 2010. And by brilliant I mean a World Cup victory.

Messi definitely has the talent to meet those expectations and it’s looking more and more like he’s actually figuring out how truly genius he can be on the soccer field. It’s a scary thought for the rest of the world when a player’s physical gifts meet with a mental understanding of the game. Other names that come to mind are Wayne Greztky in hockey, Michael Jordan in basketball, Jim Brown in football — players who have said that the game seemed to slow them for them and therefore could dominate it at a consistent basis. Messi is at that level now.

Yet, how many times have we seen players carry that pressure and try to do “too much” only to do nothing at all?

Here’s hoping that if Messi does not meet those expectations (and there’s a big chance he won’t) that the same people who built him up to be this soccer god don’t banish him to soccer hell. Regardless of what he does during the World Cup he’s a ton of fun to watch.

El Clasico

We mentioned last week that the game to watch this weekend was going to be “El Clasico” — Real Madrid versus Barcelona in a very important La Liga match-up. The teams came in tied in the standings and the star power on the pitch was going to be second to none with a lot of those players holding positions on their international teams.

As expected the game did not disappoint. The final outcome was in Barcelona’s favor — a 2-0 victory with goals from (who else?) Messi and Pedro. That makes four straight El Clasico victories for Barcelona — a record for that club.

While all eyes were on (who else?) Messi after 90 minutes of play, I can’t help but make the argument that Spanish midfielder and Barcelona teammate Xavier Hernández i Creus (better known to the soccer world as Xavi) was the true star of the game and just as good as Messi but just in that contest.

Sure, Messi gets the spotlight with his finishes, but Xavi’s vision on the pitch is unbelievable. There probably isn’t anyone else in the world who could have made the lob-pass to Messi in the box for goal one and his through ball to Pedro for the second goal warranted multiple replays and a napkin to wipe off the drool.

It’s Xavi’s ability to distribute the ball that will be a better weapon on his Spanish team than Messi’s ability to score on team Argentina. Spain also has players like Andres Iniesta, Carlos Puyol, Fernando Torres and David Villa that makes them the deadliest, most loaded squad in the World Cup. I had a friend tell me that Spain not winning the World Cup in 2010 would be just as big as Holland and their Total Football failing to win the championship in 1974.

I can agree with that.

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