As I sit down to write this article I face a big challenge. A challenge I never thought I would face at such a stage in this beautiful game. The challenge between me, the blinking cursor and the thought of one of the biggest player’s decision in world football. What do I write? Where do I start from? Is it really true? Is this it?
2016 has really been a roller coaster season for all football fans across the globe. From the biggest underdog story of the year in The Premier League to upsetting defeats in the Copa America and in the Euros. It’s truly been one hell of a year. And we’re still in the middle of it all. But the story that shook me the most wasn’t when Messi missed his penalty, which lead to Chile defeating Argentina in the Copa America Final blah blah…. But what followed after all the celebrations and sobbing was over.
“For me, the national team is over, I’ve done all I can. It hurts not to be a champion. It’s been four finals, I tried, it was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over. It’s very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back.” – Lionel Messi as quoted on BBC.
While the world was still reeling from Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s retirement from the Sweden squad, down came another bomb, and it wasn’t a small one. While one part of my brain was trying to process this news, the other part or parts were thinking of a future without Lionel Messi in the Argentine jersey, EVER! The news of Argentina’s little magician shook not just his native land or his supporters in Spain, but the entire planet. The man who made us all skip a beat with his dazzling tricks, pulled the handbrake on our hearts with this announcement. Everything came to a standstill. It was like my ears were ringing with shell shock. Messi? Retired? Now!? But he’s only 29. He’s got so many years ahead of him! Why? Why now? Fans across the world could only hope and pray that it was just in the heat of the moment, but it felt like Messi had written it in stone.
As I look at the autographed Messi jersey in my hand, a thought lingers in my head. No longer will we see ‘Messi 10’ on a blue and white kit. No longer will the papers and experts only talk about how to stop ‘The Atomic Flea’. And no longer will we see the little man score on the world’s biggest stage. The Argentine squad in the FIFA World Cup 2018 will be missing its most iconic number that we all have come to love and respect over the years.
What the future holds for the world of football and for Lionel Messi remains a mystery. Right now all we can do is hope he changes his mind and dawn the Argentina kit once again. Until then YouTube remains the only place to find Messi dazzle us over and over again in the blue and white kit.