Archive | August 2015

The metamorphosis of Lionel Messi

By Frederick Mordi

Lionel Messi needs no introductions.

He is one of the greatest footballers in the world today. Known to be a bit shy, particularly humble, and above all, cool-headed, Messi has been making the headlines in the last few weeks, not just for his goal-scoring abilities, but for his little indiscretions. Not a few of his fans are disturbed by Messi’s seeming metamorphosis.

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It all started earlier in the year when Messi revealed a tattoo on his right arm and left leg. Many who lionise the 28-year old Argentine captain and Barcelona striker, felt uneasy and upset over this development that has made them to begin to view him as a ‘rebel.’ Having a tattoo also means that Messi may not be able to donate blood, as his arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who does not wear a tattoo, is known to do, from time to time. This sort of gives Ronaldo a ‘moral edge’ over Messi.

In July, when he visited Gabon, a small Central African country with a population of about 2 million people, on the invitation of President Ali Bongo, the Gabonese opposition party severely criticised Messi over his appearance.

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“When you’re called Lionel Messi and you’re a multi-billionaire, you don’t have the right to present yourself to officials of a republic, even a banana one, with your hands in the pockets of a ripped, tattered pair of shorts,” the party said in a terse statement.

“Gabon isn’t a zoo. We don’t know what the Argentine came to Gabon for, but we at least have the right to denounce his negligence and his lack of respect for standards and principles. We are uneasy with Messi’s attitude and his attire. Only for these reasons, linked to respect for the host country, do we condemn the footballer’s indelicateness, to say the least!”

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Messi was in Gabon on the invitation of the President to lay the first stone at a stadium. Despite these scathing comments, Mr. Bongo gave Messi the VIP treatment as he personally drove the super star through the streets of Libreville, the country’s capital, in a jeep shortly before the stone-laying ceremony. Though it was reported that Messi received €3.5 million for his brief visit to the oil-producing country, the government denied the claim.

Barely two weeks later, Messi, again shocked his fans when he gave a Roma player a head-butt, before he seized the defender that towered over him, by the throat. Though it was obvious the player in question must have first provoked Messi, the Barcelona striker’s reaction was unusual, as he is known to keep his cool under even the greatest pressure.

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Since Messi has become a global brand, it is highly imperative that he tries as much as he can, to nip in the bud, his growing imprudence, keeping in mind, the old saying: pride goes before a fall. That is the only way he can avoid falling victim to the Icarus Paradox, or to put it more simply, his own success.