In this game of stardom, only the most solid stars survive to the end. On The night of 30th JUne or rather the morning of July 1st, I slept for only two hours. I had to watch the Confederations Cup final match between Brazil and Spain. It started at the weird hour of 0100. Brazil humbled Spain with a crushing 3-0 win, ending their opponents three year record run of 29 unbeaten competitive matches.
The South Americans were effective and assertive. The golden boy happened to be one Neymar, the soccer star whose name is on everyone’s lips at the moment. Wherever Messi was, I’m sure he was watching in disdain.
Success at the international stage has eluded Messi. Despite his numerous club trophies and individual awards, Messi has never enjoyed the same level of success while wearing the national colors. Neymar on the other hand just steered his national side to a well-deserved victory in one of the most epic tournaments in recent history.
While plying his trade at Santos in the Brazilian league, Neymar was declared ‘Hors Concurs’– a Portuguese term which means ‘out of competition.’- Out of range. The only other player to have clinched the honour is the legendary Pele, who happens to be Neymar’s biggest fan.
I watched the match at a local club with a few close friends. A guy seated next to me kept asking where Ronaldo was and why he wasn’t in the match. I tried explaining to him that Cristiano Ronaldo plays for Portugal but he kept insisting that there’s a Brazilian Ronaldo who is even more lethal. I tried hard to endure his persistent shouting. The Ronaldo he was talking about retired around 3 years ago. After reaching unbelievable heights, the path his career had trodden had been downhill ever since. It made me realize that a star only lasts a while.
The Brazilian Ronaldo was one of the greatest players to ever grace the game. Suddenly he started marrying and divorcing models at an alarming rate then he became overweight. After that, he was taunted by his competitors, the likes of Zidane, who were more majestic. Then there was Ronaldinho, arguably the greatest football magician to ever grace the game.
His tricks never seemed to get depleted. He was doing fine when suddenly he became overweight too followed by accusations of hard reckless partying. While all this was happening, his form faded and the magician was booed off the global arena by the introduction of the wonder kid Messi.
Messi has romped through football fields like a god rather than a human being, scoring at ease, setting up goals and linking up intricate passing moves. Then suddenly, tax evasion charges have emerged out of nowhere. Once you are a star, these kinds of scandals eat you up and it’s hard to bounce back unless you are really a tough rebellious character. Messi is humble and he knows how the world has always viewed him. Somehow, he might start thinking that due to his scandal and the emergence of Neymar, the world likes him less. He will try so hard to impress and that’s where he will fail. Neymar will take over Barcelona and as the saying goes, ‘there’s only a golden chair for one king.’
Messi ousted Ronaldinho from Barcelona and he too shall be ousted by Neymar. There’s always the end of an era. Messi’s style has been a domineering one but his future prospects look grim. People have gotten used to him. Pundits and critics alike will be more inclined towards checking out the moments of brilliance that Neymar conjures rather than those of Messi.
The Argentine will then become frustrated and might just hand in a transfer request. Once he’s at another club, he’ll realize the machines aren’t as well-oiled as they were at Barcelona and the struggle will continue. That will be the Messi we once knew, still legendary though. But before Messi exits, the pair will work wonders at Barcelona in the coming season.