One of Messi's best goals
Monday, October 06, 2008
This is neither the most elegant nor the most technically difficult goal in Messi's career; however, this is one of his best goals.
Let me elaborate.
After negotiations to move to any power-house team in the world have been completed and multimillion dollar contracts have been signed, football is just a game. Because it's just a game, playing football is fun.
Messi's goal is the type of goal you score against friends while playing on the street during summer afternoons. You know what I'm talking about: the goal you score playing in your neighborhood fields; the goal you score when it's getting late and your mom is calling to come inside for dinner and the challenge "the last goal wins the game" is thrown into the air; the goal you get into fights over, because the other team claims you cheated. These are the best goals: you'll laugh about them the next day and everyone will point out how much of a cheater you are, but deep inside everyone knows that they would have done the same thing.
Can you argue against this being one one of Messi's best goals? This goal is pure joy; this goal is part of the beautiful game; this goal is pura picardia
. (If you don't know what that means, recall Maradona's hand-of-god
goal in Mexico 86.)
The validity of this goal comes down to the rules. For example, everyone knows that the wall is requested by the team shooting the free kick. When the wall is requested, the game is stopped and the game resumes until the ref blows his whistle and, typically, someone shoots to net or crosses the ball. If the team shooting the free kick doesn't request the wall, any player can put the ball in game at any time. Messi, knowing the rules, shot to goal without requesting the wall and hence no whistle necessary--and hence, a clever goal.
Because of this rule, coaches teach players at a very young age that someone needs to go in front of the ball whenever a foul is granted--always
. This ensures that the other team can't just put the ball in play whenever they feel like it. If a player is in front of the ball obstructing it, then the wall is requested and players of the opposing team must line up 10 yards away from the ball. This is an easy lesson forgotten in the heat of the game; and even professionals need to be reminded of it--however painful and embarrassing the lessons is.