Anilava Chatterjee, St. Petersburg: When the match got over I had to complete all the formalities at the Media Center and then had to rush to the station to catch a train to Moscow. If Saint Petersburg station is our Sealdah Station then Mayakovsky station is just four stops in metro from the stadium. The Russian government has made provisions for free metro ride for all the visiting fans and the journalists who flocked in numbers to watch the World Cup. A Fan ID and even an accreditation card will also do, with the help of which you can easily travel to the world cup venues, free of cost. Our compartment was full of journalists heading towards Moscow. After Argentina now they turn their attention towards Brazil base camp. There were a few Bangladeshi journalists, a handful from Kerala and journalists from other countries as well. I saw Sergio being very anxious. Sergio is one of the most respected and experienced journalists of Argentina. While traveling he was giving the interview for Argentine radios. I asked him, “How is Maradona now?” as I wanted to know but I was aware at the same time that Sergio himself was clueless. He replied, “Not getting any news, but some say he’s fine, has flown to Moscow. But some say his condition is seriously critical”. But I personally feel he’s tad fine and in this social media driven society anybody can write anything they wished to. Seemingly Sergio was trying to console himself. I was on my way from St. Petersburg to Moscow while writing this blog. It will take around 8hrs to reach Leipzig. Maradona kept us anxious for the entire journey. As he did in his entire life.
Maradona, Buruchaga, Canijia were there in the 1990 World Cup squad they played against a comparatively weak African side but mighty Argentina lost the match. They tumbled the entire tournament. Canagia, Gayekocia saved their national team in some occasions. He posted these in his Twitter handle after they drew against Iceland. In 2014 I saw Maradona crying after losing against Germany in the final. That was the first time. He cries, laughs and shares his emotions among the others. He bumps his chests and shows his middle finger and does some ugly dance. His emotions, temperament is like a roller coaster but, did Lionel Messi has same kind of emotions? as he doesn’t see crying after scoring a goal he knows how to hide the emotions.
10 young boys who came from Buenos Aires were covered in green dress also wore Argentina jerseys. They said, “We came from a different planet to St. Petersburg. The planet named Messi-land.” The logic is very clear behind it. Portugal has Ronaldo, Brazil has Neymar but Messi is completely from a different planet. Another boy from Corinthians came with two friends wearing a big mask of Messi. He said, “We use those masks in our country during carnivals. We wanted to make it like that. Messi will give us the World Cup.” I was surprised to see the believe they had. Without Messi there is so little to talk about this team. No one will dare to imagine that this team will lift the trophy without Messi but, the magic starts when he gets the ball. He touched thrice to score the goal. LM10 received the ball with his thigh then pushed it gently on the left side then placed it to the back of the net with his right foot. This kind of magical touches made Brazil and Argentina so popular in World football. His teammates were nowhere near as they failed to give this kind of touches. Higuain was terrible over the years still he gets the Argentina jersey.
Being an Argentine supporter it’s not a thought task to understand that Argentine football lost their way but Messi is the only one who fascinates the crowd all over the world. Many people came from China, Japan, Africa to support Argentina at St. Petersburg. There were wearing the blue and white jersey. Messi’s name were written behind their jersey.
Sharmistha Dey and Tushar Kanti Dey came from Jalpaiguri as their son did well in the board exams. Sharmistha dressed interestingly as her saree was blue and white in color. There was also the Sun in the saree. He ordered it in a Kolkata based boutique to watch Argentina’s match. Every nation has a special way to cheer their national team. Brazil uses drums and sings Ole Ole songs while Argentine supporters love to jump and wave their Jerseys or scarfs. Argentine supporters had to listen the Chao Chao Messi slogans even some Nigerian fans also seen to chant the same as some Argentine supporters were seen in a coffee shop. Even after the game against Nigeria, it’s not clear that how well Argentina can play in this World Cup.
It was a different match as Argentina had to win the match. Messi came here from Messi-land and went back with lots of love. The celebration was going on till the midnight in the metros. The fans were singing. I met two people who came from Corinthians. Little Melodika went to watch the game. Those two meet in the metro and started singing Vamos Argentina. Kolkata based music Composer Arindam Chatterjee came at St. Petersburg and tried to find an Argentina jersey but failed. At last, he went to watch the game wearing Barcelona T-shirt. Arindam came here with his mother. He said, ‘My mother doesn’t understand football but she can the feel the emotions in the gallery. The whole stadium cried after Rojo’s goal I saw my mother was also emotional.” What Maradona did then? The ‘bad boy’ of world football raised his middle finger to the Nigerian gallery. He danced with a Nigerian lady before the match. After the match, Maradona felt sick as doctors came in to see what happened to him. Here in Russia Messi plays on the ground Maradona plays from the gallery. I met Sergio in the morning he said “Diego is better now. He went back to Moscow. Sergio was relieved we also are. Again in the match against France; Messi will play on the ground and Maradona will do the rest from the gallery.