Lionel Messi: A prologue to the beautiful game.
The clock showed 67', Barcelona was leading 2-0 against Dortmund. Messi received the ball near the penalty box and ran almost parallel to it with the ball slaving at his feet. He sensed Griezman's run even without looking up before laying a perfectly weighted pass between two defenders. The ball almost came to a standstill right in front of the charging Frenchman and all he had to do was guide the ball into the bottom corner. Camp Nou erupted once again. The crowd let out out an intimate cry of ‘Messi! Messi!' assisted by slow rhythmic applause.
Camp Nou reveled at the prospect of winning comfortably against the menacing German side and a probable finish at the top of the group of death. Unlike the previous games, they had overshadowed their opponents, teasing them with quick short passes and an almost fabled interplay. It was like the Barcelona of the old and it was not something the fans used to witness in recent times. As usual, at the heart of everything good that happened to Barca, stood the short Argentine, his head bowed slightly as if scrutinizing the grass below him.
It was Messi's 700th game for Barcelona, his 613th goal and 237th assist for the club. These stats vindicate peaks of glory. However, when one thinks about the way he attained those numbers, that stipulates the bulk of veneration. Messi is just heavenly, essentially boundless existence propelling with a certainty that no ordinary footballer can even dream of emulating.
He is one of the few who have won both the pandits and common folks alike. A person in possession of such a polished and ethereal footballing style that even a simple tap-in or an almost absent-minded drop of a shoulder spark abundance of joy and adoration.
Messi is currently 32, though his performance doesn't betray his age. He might not have many years of football left in him and he is sure to reach the twilight of his career in a few years. It is not the records and honors he amassed over time, but the artistry and the elegance of his footballing trait that defines him as a footballer. It is something to be loved, relished and savored, something that is certified to endow you with bursts of euphoria.