Although it sounds like a contradiction due to age, at the age of 35, Lionel Messi landed in his fifth World Cup, showing off his best national team version.
Mature, full, and well surrounded by a group that makes him feel comfortable in private and on the field, a winner with an empty backpack of champion obligations in light blue and white…
The debut with Saudi Arabia is coming in this Qatari adventure, today at 11 p.m. Spanish, and the 10th takes over. He asks to be the voice of Argentina at the official conference. It is a way of shouting to the soccer planet, “Here I am.” “I came to win the World Cup.”
Of course, Messi does not pronounce that phrase in his presentation at the IBC in Doha. It’s not his style. But download this powerful message.
He did something similar in the 2021 Copa América, arriving in Brazil just before Chile’s debut.That time he had said, “It’s time to strike.” And he came out round.
Now this impacts his first response: “I feel very good physically.” I arrive at a great moment, both personally and physically. I have no problem. I trained differently because I had a blow, as a precaution, but nothing unusual. And he clarifies: “I didn’t do anything special.” “I took care of myself and worked as I did throughout my career.”
That definition of Leo is key. Just like on Sunday, he trained normally on Monday, leaving behind previous tests at the University of Qatar that had shown him working differently due to a slight muscle overload.
However, as if it were established that a different alarm should sound every day on the 10th, there was another moment of uncertainty that surrounded him due to an image rescued by FIFA that showed his swollen right ankle. Messi ruled out everything with that initial sentence. Not to worry.
The 10th repeats a verb: “enjoy.” One of his definitions is valid as a paradigm: “I don’t know if it is the happiest moment of my career, but I feel very well.” He grabs me with another age, a more mature one. I try to enjoy every moment and to live it with intensity.
Before, I didn’t have time to enjoy myself. I only thought about the next game and about wanting to keep winning. Today I am more aware of everything, and I try to enjoy it. Today, enjoyment takes precedence over all else.
Messi wants to enjoy it, and you have to enjoy it because, as he slides, he will be the last Leo in the World Cup: “It will probably be my last World Cup, my last chance to achieve that great dream that I have.”
The match with Saudi Arabia will be difficult, as the captain imagines. We respect the rival. For many of my teammates, it will be their first time at a World Cup. “Each one will handle anxiety and nerves as best they can, but when the minutes pass, we will play as we have been doing.”
It is perceived that people want this to be Leo’s World Cup. And Messi replies: “It makes me happy that many people want the same thing as me.” And about how Argentina arrives, Leo compares: “This group reminds me a lot of 2014.” It is very united; it knows what it wants. It’s good to come this way. “I feel very excited, very excited.”
What Messi speech will there be in the locker room before Saudi Arabia? The captain summarizes: “What I am going to tell my teammates is that they try to enjoy the moment.” The World Cup is special, and we don’t know if it will be repeated. Enjoy the people and the game to the fullest. Then they isolate themselves and play the way they know how.
The boy insistently pursues his dream of lifting the World Cup: “What leads me to keep trying is the illusion, the desire, always wanting more.” You always have to try. You do not have to stay with the desire and think about what would have happened. “In the end, afterward is what God wants.”