Happy 30th Birthday to the boy from Rosario, Santa Fé, Argentina.
“Lionel Messi might not be medicine, but he can feel like it. Watching Messi with a ball at his feet is a testament to the rest of our possibilities. Maybe we aren’t so terrible, because he’s one of us. He can make us seem better than we are.
He rewards so many different kinds of attention.
Sometimes he is best seen from a distance. If you’re far enough away from the action so that the names and numbers have disappeared, Messi will still be easy to spot. That’s him, way over there, the man farthest removed from the play. That’s him - standing by himself.
[…] It is almost painful to see film of him from the start of things. He played differently then. He was unblinking, like a child. His skin was clear of tattoos. His hair was boyishly long, parted in the middle. Now we know the greatness that awaited him, but back then, when he came sprinting off the bench for the last eight minutes against Espanyol, the first eight minutes of his career, he was all future.
[…] Watching him closely - not from distance this time, but under a microscope - it’s possible to anticipate when he will receive the ball, because he still lights up like a boy when he senses its arrival, an almost imperceptible surge of energy coursing through him, a current that pushes him to the balls of his feet.
He can do what every great athlete can do and the rest of us can’t: He can see the future. He knows what will happen before anyone else in the stadium understands what just did.” [x]