Column | The Messiah of Soccer and The God of Cricket | Sports activities | Soccer

The FIFA World Cup concluded to a befitting climax on 18 December with a remaining recreation that can stay etched in reminiscences. Argentina’s win, which was celebrated in Kerala with as a lot vigour as within the streets of Buenos Aires, was properly deserved in that they held the higher hand by means of many of the match.

France went down combating, coming again twice, each through the common and additional time, to wipe out deficits that might have overawed a lesser facet.

Although penalty shootouts will not be the best technique for figuring out the winner in a carefully fought recreation, this was one event when this technique helped to uphold justice by popping out with a good consequence.

This was, with out even an iota of doubt, Lionel Messi’s World Cup. He dominated the match in the same method as Pele and Maradona did in 1970 and 1986 respectively. He was the pivot round whom the Argentina facet revolved; the magician opening up scoring alternatives; the playmaker deciding the tempo and elegance of the sport and the finisher scoring targets virtually at will.

It was by no means doubtful amongst those that adopted the championship that he would win the “Golden Ball” award – he was too far forward of the remainder of the pack to even assume by way of competitors for this honour.


Lione Messi and Argentina gamers have fun with the World Cup. Photograph; Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach

With seven targets to his credit score, he completed simply behind Mbappe of France within the race for the “Golden Boot”, awarded to the best scorer.

The rousing reception that greeted the victorious staff when it landed again in Buenos Aires confirmed the recognition of the game in addition to the magnitude of the achievement. The phrase “one staff, one nation, one dream” emblazoned on the particular plane that took the squad from Qatar to their homeland, encapsulated the feelings of the thousands and thousands of Argentines who thronged the streets dancing with pleasure.

The love, regard and respect of the grateful nation couldn’t have been expressed in a greater approach. It was actually a welcome befitting an all-conquering hero.

The senior members of the squad would have felt the stark and putting distinction between these ecstatic celebrations and the pall of gloom and despair that enveloped the nation when the nationwide facet returned after a depressing marketing campaign 4 years in the past.

There have been rumours that Messi, then aged 31, would retire from the sport as he was piqued by the extreme criticism about his failure to win championships titles for his nation. He stayed away from some matches however was persuaded by the brand new coach Lionel Scaloni to begin carrying the blue and white jersey of the nationwide facet.


Argentina’s Lionel Messi celebrates with teammates after profitable the World Cup. Photograph: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

The tide began turning step by step and shortly the facet launched into a profitable spree which noticed them carry the Copa America title in 2021, the primary one ever after Messi joined the nationwide staff.

A spate of victories adopted and the facet reached Qatar driving on a 36-match unbeaten streak.

And the occasions that came about in Qatar have now develop into a part of a soccer legend.

There was widespread expectation that Messi would announce his retirement from worldwide soccer on the finish of the World Cup.

Messi and Scaloni

Lionel Messi and Argentina coach Leonel Scaloni with the World Cup trophy on arrival on the Ezeiza Worldwide Airport. Photograph: Reuters/Agustin Marcarian

Nevertheless, he indicated his intention to hold on taking part in beneath the nationwide flag, carrying the blue and white striped jersey for some extra time.

He’s within the second half of the fourth decade of his life at current and the potential for taking part in the following World Cup seems distant, although there are cases of gamers on the opposite facet of 40 collaborating on this match.

Most likely, he might solely be giving himself the chance to soak fully within the heat afterglow of an excellent triumph for just a few months earlier than taking the decision concerning hanging up his boots for good.

Semblance of Sachin

In lots of facets, Messi’s profession carries a exceptional semblance to that of Sachin Tendulkar, the cricketing legend from India.

Tendulkar was indisputably the perfect batsman of his technology and one of the widespread cricketers of all time. The long-lasting stature that Messi carries in Argentina and the remainder of the soccer world is similar to the standing of Tendulkar in India, the place he comes near being revered.

If Messi carried the hopes and aspirations of 46 million Argentines each time he stepped out onto the soccer subject, Tendulkar was burdened with the goals of a billion Indians at any time when he took his guard on the crease.


Sachin Tendulkar waving on the crowd throughout a victory lap following the Indian cricket staff’s victory within the ICC World Cup in 2011.

By the way, each of them selected to put on the jersey with the quantity “10” on it.

Extra considerably, each Messi and Tendulkar yearned to win the World Cup for his or her respective international locations. Neither of them made any makes an attempt to cover this intense want; as a substitute, they wore it on their sleeves proudly.

Each of them needed to tirelessly wait to attain this goal. Tendulkar needed to play in 6 World Cup championships and wait until the age of 38 years to carry the coveted trophy in his fingers whereas Messi needed to play in 5 tournaments and attain 35 years earlier than he might indulge within the fantasy of going to mattress with the prized memento by his facet.

The delay achieve the purpose may need made the achievement seem sweeter when it lastly occurred, however the disappointments en route would have precipitated horrible ache as properly. If Messi was haunted by the poor efficiency of the facet within the 2018 FIFA Cup, Tendulkar needed to dwell down the reminiscences of a below-par present within the 2007 version of the Worldwide Cricket Council (ICC) world championships, the place India was ousted even previous to reaching the knockout stage.


Sachin Tendulkar with the ICC trophy following the Indian cricket staff’s victory over Sri Lanka within the World Cup in 2011.

They had been in a position to bounce again and information their sides to the pole place inside a span of 4 years solely due to their large interior power and staunch religion in their very own talents to lift their efficiency ranges on the large stage in addition to the capability to encourage their colleagues to achieve larger heights.

What subsequent now for Messi? Although he’s, no doubt, the preferred and admired character in Argentina, he has, like Tendulkar, not proven any curiosity in coming into the political area.

One feels that his profession within the post-World Cup triumph days may even comply with the course set by Tendulkar. Most likely, he’ll proceed to play for Argentina for a few years at most earlier than bidding adieu to worldwide soccer, whereas persevering with to play membership soccer for some extra time.

He can also take into account serving some bigger public causes in his dwelling nation, with out holding any public workplace, and thus contribute to the welfare of the society that has stood by him and elevated him to the pedestal of a dwelling legend.

To sum up, each the Messiah of soccer and the God of cricket have contributed considerably to offering happiness and bettering the sense of dignity of thousands and thousands of their countrymen by means of their contributions of their respective fields.

A Huge Salute to Lionel Andres Messi and Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar- Icons to generations and idols worthy of emulation.

(The creator is a former worldwide cricket umpire and a senior bureaucrat)

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