The 10 does not appear on the list of numbers announced by Barça for the presentation of the squad for next season during the Joan Gamper Trophy that will face the team with Juve (Sunday, Johan Cruyff stadium, 9:30 pm). It is not known if the club intends to honor Leo Messi for a day or for life or is the announcement that no player dares to wear the shirt of the most famous and successful Barcelona leader in history since its founding in 1899. That sheepskin that inflated the Camp Nou, subdued the Bernabéu and conquered Rome, Wembley and Berlin, covered after the newspapers and the opening of the news, only seems to make sense in the small body of that 18-year-old who ruled the world from precisely a Gamper match played at the Barça stadium on August 24, 2005 against Juventus. “Leave me this little devil!” Capello exclaimed as Messi’s guarantee certificate.
Nobody better than a technician outside the culé cause so that Barça itself, and by extension European football, would know the impact that Barça’s 10 would have. From then on the biography was written and the myth of Messi was built. Rosario’s grandmother appeared, to whom he dedicated his goals; the friend who used as an interpreter to communicate with the teacher was met; It was also known that the growth hormone was punctured every night; and it was recorded that his first contract with Barcelona was formalized on a napkin, a preview of the burofax with which he later announced his desire to leave the Camp Nou and later the statement that terminated his link with Barça. The tale was always so popular and grateful that it resisted Mourinho’s taint when he accused him of being a stage actor at Staformd Bridge a year after seducing Capello. There is no coach or rival player who does not presume to have been a victim of Messi.
The Barça technicians go out of their way to explain the feats of that boy who officiated as a soloist the morning of his presentation after absorbing the Masia’s solfeggio in one night. Messi has friends and acquaintances from how many litters have left Barça and especially from that cadet that he formed with Piqué and Cesc led by Tito Vilanova. Most fans know that to be heard they need to have a link with 10, an anecdote to tell, a goal to sing or a wet dream like Laporta’s. He has been a footballer capable of bringing together the child, the father and the grandfather of the same Barcelona family when there is more discussion about the clash of generations and the lack of interest in football among young people increases, more playful and analysts than spectators and, nevertheless, hypnotized by Messi. There have been queues of children and adults, musicians and poets, scientists and artists, strangers to football, waiting to see and greet 10. Messi has been so extraordinary that at 34 years old he escapes any diagnosis other than that of a child happy with the ball and, as such, a tyrant when he does not win, impenetrable if he loses, always competitive, a winner by nature and therefore at ease with good footballers and coaches, few as convincing as Guardiola.
A more harmonious team is not remembered than that Barça born in 2008, crowned in 2011 and protagonist of the 2010 Ballon d’Or that brought together Xavi, Iniesta and Messi himself. The team, better or worse, have never lacked the 30 goals per season of the 10, the common thread of success, collective and individual, always encouraged by Cristiano Ronaldo. There is not in the world a player like Messi, capable of surviving even the exhausting nature of Barça, because it is not the player but the board that cuts the relationship that will prevent him from being a footballer for a single club like Pelé with Santos.
The emotional wear and tear generated by a club as unique as Barça has caused historical ruptures and also surprisingly painless games like Maradona’s. Neymar fled, Ronaldo was allowed to escape by the grace of the Virgin Mary – Núñez’s word – and Figo’s betrayal will remain forever. Kubala went to Espanyol and Samitier worked for Bernabéu. Barça did not want to share Di Stéfano with Madrid either. And it is already known that Cruyff had a silent end as a footballer and thunderous as a coach while Guardiola emptied himself so much at the Camp Nou that to return to a bench he needed a sabbatical in New York. Messi has endured until the club has been ruined, so that around him the history, all the records and the lives of his figures, those of Pelé, Di Stéfano, Maradona, Cruyff and his, today the number one, would be updated.
Kubala’s technique, Cruyff’s mobility and Maradona’s gambetta are in some way part of Messi’s repertoire or at least the Barça fan wanted to warn the Argentine of the synthesis of the virtues of the Barça icons. Nobody has managed the speed and the pause better, nor did they drive so fast with the ball always glued to the foot, a usual top scorer in the League. He scored the same goal since he was born in Rosario. The corporal expression and the cognitive function, as well as his character and the facility to anticipate the play, has been maintained; he did not win or ditch while haggling; the difference was in the acceleration and changes of pace, visible in the legs more than in Messi’s haircut. Such has been his strength that for a long time no longer thought of putting together a team but of pleasing 10 without taking into account the reference of Cruyff’s Dream Team and Guardiola’s Barça.
Cruyff is no longer there, Guardiola trains City and Messi is on his way to PSG, the club that has made life impossible for Barça since he lifted Neymar for 222 million euros, which in the long run have become the misery of the Camp Nou. There is no possible heir to Messi. That young man sponsored by Ronaldinho’s smile and technical gestures leaves an orphan shirt for the time being, the Barcelona fans aware that if the team played with one more from now on, it will do so with one less, the one that marked the differences, reason too much to mourn his loss and dress in mourning, save a duel that seems eternal in a club with a tendency to doom and cainism, today the widower of the footballer who has shaken the Camp Nou the most and has made life happy for Barça.
Many are still so stunned that they think that if the number 10 has not been awarded for the game against Juve it is because it is reserved for Messi. Nobody still believes that Messi will not retire at Barça.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.