Anilva Chatterjee, Saint Petersburg: Saint Petersburg is not that old a city. It got established back in 1703. But by that time, it has already seen to change its name thrice, three mutinies and a bondage of 900 days. If you walk down the streets, you will find history to be scattered to and fro. The game Brazil played on Friday, was Krontovoski Stadium. The Neva River met Baltic Sea over there. If you stand at the balcony, you will be able to see the blue overhead is meeting the beautiful Baltic Sea. It will seem to be a spaceship floated on the sea. A Japanese company designed the stadium like a spaceship only. Peter the Great’s interest was surrounded by the naval force. He himself built the Naval force. The intention was to increase the influence on the Baltic Sea. Peter shifted his base on the banks of the Baltic Sea. The mission was Poland. The warfare with Poland happened back in 1709 with Poland, where Peter the Great won the battle.
St Petersburg is the capital city. Peter the Great used 40,000 Polish war-prisoners to develop the city. The ups and downs continued after that as well. The city has seen Bolshevik movements. It suffered a bondage of 900 days and then it still made a comeback. That is why the comebacks are in the veins of this city. Will this city see another comeback? Who knows! But the entire world would be eagerly looking at this city on Tuesday, in the expectation of a comeback. But the team which is centered by so much emotion, anxiety and doubt – Argentina will enter into the city on Sunday night. A storm has been going on in the Argentine camp. The players have lost their faith on Sampaoli. The AFA President had to rush in. Multiple players are reportedly planning for retirements, talks had been to hand over the coaching responsibility to Burruchaga. But after Nigeria defeated Iceland, the conditions are little stable. If he fails to this latest opportunity, Messi knows it pretty well that he will have to return to Spain by drowning the GOAT tag on the Baltic Sea.
But how? The surroundings are not saying that. Once Ronaldinho was asked the definition of football. His reaction was, “Football is a mental state. If it’s fine, you will play well, else you are gone!”. With the way the Argentine, as well as Messi fans, have dragged the no.10 down, it seems to be a daunting task for him to play his natural game. The people of Brunetsi though are trying to make their players happy. Brunetsi is where Argentina is having their base camp. Tomorrow, there will be a whole day celebration to make Messi’s birthday a special one. There will be musical bands, the Sports Minister of the Moscow region will himself come with a cake. A few authentic Russian gifts will aso be given. So, they are almost ready for Messi’s birthday celebration. There are some hoardings in the city. Though, Argentine journalists are saying there is no chance that Messi would come to celebrate in the ongoing situations.
As Rabindranath Tagore wrote on his “Russiar Chithi”, somehow it is giving me a feeling that Messi will have to come down to the world of ordinary level. Like the Partizans. It is never possible to win the fort without any support. It’s a team effort. Yes, there would be leaders like the Maradona used to do, Ronaldo has been doing for Portugal. From the level of God, one can just observe. In St Petersburg, there is a Victory Memorial in the memories of the Second World War. Keeping 900 days of German strike, they lit 900 lights. There are also the statues of Russian Partizans of the Second World War. They made Lenin Grad free after 900 days. One Che Guevara said, “Football? It’s not easy. It’s an arm for a movement.” As if the city is requesting Messi’s Argentina to become Partizans for a day. It is waiting for the world of football to lit up.