More Than A Superstar

Icon Books


I’m struck by reading messi, more than a superstar at how much Luca Caioli wants to portray Lionel Messi as an ordinary person. A person with an amazing talent that has just stumbled across this life of fame and (ahem…) non payment of taxes.
His first coach has “never heard him boast about playing well and scoring goals” and that feeling resonates. How many times have we squirmed as someone talks about how good they are. It is part of the Irish psyche to play yourself down. And if you don’t do it there will be plenty of friends ready to knock you off any perch you might build up. Don’t get comfortable.
Then I wonder is that the right thing? Is it just self confidence that allows one to speak of their own ability? If I see a mirror I get an urge to rush past it without looking up. The inverse is the case for my kids. They are comfortable with it. Is one of us wrong?
By page 35 humility has been mentioned on four separate occasions. It reminds me of Gaelic Football in Dublin where players can play for their county in front of 80.000 people but still come back to their club and be one of the gang. I’ve often seen Brian Fenton in St Anne’s park talking to young Raheny players, offering advice and generally being a good guy. It’s no more than you get from most people in the club the only difference is that Fenton is lauded on tv most weeks when he plays. Should that make a difference? Obviously not but how can you stop it? It must be hard work.
The other night I was out for a meal and I saw a little known food critic on the table opposite. I couldn’t help but stare and think of a conversation gong around in the kitchen of the restaurant, or on tables beside us as these people looked to eat their meal in peace. What if this was Messi looking for a quiet curry or out for a quiet walk in the park. Would he be able to have one? Nope, so how do you stay humble in such circumstances?
Of course for it to be any book of relevance when talking about messi, Diego maradona has to get a mention. How infuriating (or flattering) must it be for any great player that comparisons get made big course it is only natural. It’s a sign of quality. Argentina have had many people described as the next Maradona but none given that title as much as Messi. Of course the fact they both possess so much skill on their respective left foot means there is validity to the comparisons.  For me there is only one, of each
Of course with a talent like messi he is always going to be in demand. Whenever talent rises people wish to claim it and make use of it. For a young messi this meant being dragged around as his club and country wanted to use him for their needs. With him in the team you had a better chance of winning. Cause gives us some examples of that conflict. The one option of doing what is best for the individual never seems to be noted though.
Of course boring such a precious talent means every season brings new records and honours. Every season has a litany of special goals or majestic passes. Some of them get mentioned here and the imagery they conjure up is simply breathtaking. I love watching Messi play football, he makes it seem si simple.
As interesting and all that Messis ability to play football is it starts to grate a bit when picking through the seasons. He is a record breaker, his trophy haul is phenomenal his goal scoring record is second to none and the way he can win things for his teams are magnificent. This book reminds us of that. It gives very little background information.  There are no insights into Messis thoughts, no new breakthroughs are announced. This is where it really falls down for me. I know little more about the “Flea” than I did when starting the book. His humility is reaffirmed, that’s for sure but little else.

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