Anilava Chatterjee, Moscow: Argentina beat France two times in the World Cup back in 1930 and 1978. In both times they reached the final. In the first final they lost but in the year 1978 they won their maiden World Cup title.
If the cricket scoreboard can be compared with a donkey one day, then the football statistics can also be compared with the weather office of Kolkata. Statistics can tell you that what would happen in the next game. If statistics are to be believed then one should know that Argentine star Lionel Messi don’t have a single goal in the knockouts of the World Cup. He has played 666 minutes so far in this stage but failed to score any goal so far. But this statistic is just a number until the game starts. After it gets started only one thing will come in mind that this person had scored a master class in the last game. After watching this game for more than two decades I can say that this game don’t follow any conventional history, geography, mathematics or any statistics. It only understands talent and knows some magicians like Lionel Messi who have helped the game to grow through all parts of the world. We all know that Achilles – The Cat has become a superstar in this ongoing World Cup. But his prediction gone totally wrong for the match between Nigeria and Argentina. In that match, it predicted that Nigeria would win but we all know the match result now. We should understand that the cat doesn’t know that Argentina has a magician named Lionel Messi.
I saw the Argentine magician is in a good mood at their base camp in Bronnitsy. He wore a green colour boot. Adidas unveiled this boot named ‘Messi Green’ earlier this year. As per sources, the boots which Messi will wear next year has been created by Adidas as well.
Every year LM 10 has been given a new kind of comfort. Messi and his teammates were wearing the white t-shirt during the practice but the sky was just like an Argentine flag. Argentina fought with Spain to get their independence. Their leader Manuel Belgrano designed the flag in blue and white. Talking about the importance he said blue sky and the white cloud is his inspiration to design the flag. It was blue and white all over the base camp of Argentina. Moscova river is a bit far from the base camp but the entire sky was blue and white. Messi, Aguero, Rojo were practicing beneath the sky. Coaches prefer to do some warm-up practice until the journalist stays. Messi once darted the ball and then I saw his actual mood as he accelerated himself. Eventually, he got the ball as he can’t stay without the ball.
In the world of blue and white the Argentine team is in happy mood. Beside the lake at Bronnitsy Mascherano clicked an image and posted that in his instagram with a caption ‘peace’. At Nizhny when they lost to Croatia 3-0 the team was under tremendous pressure as the next match against Nigeria was a must-win game for them. But now ahead of the pre-quarterfinals the team looks calm. Sampaoli is there for Argentina but only physically. On their return to St. Petersburg the team enjoyed a lot with singing and dancing. The Argentine supporters used to sing ‘Vamos Argentina’ and the players like Aguero and others also copied the song and started to sing while playing the drums.
News coming from the Argentine contingent that Lionel Messi has taken over as the heart and soul of the team and also the main mastermind of the team’s proceedings. As the match stretches towards the 45th-minute mark, Messi is seen commanding the entire team, which was something very rare in Argentine football before. But the Croatia match changed the entire equation.
29th of June is one of the most memorable date in Argentine football. This was the day when Diego Maradona led Argentina to their second World cup triumph. 32 years hence, similarly 30th June will be as important as well for Argentine football. From almost falling from the edge, the team has turned around in some fashion! The Argentine team is least bothered as of now whether Messi will lift the cup or not or whether the team will even reach the final or not. They are rather more concerned about playing for their identities, to play for their pride and self-respect.
When I was leaving the Argentine base camp at Bronnitsy, I met Santiago. He traveled all the way from Barcelona on a bicycle to watch Messi play. He covered around 4000 km, crossing a total of 8 countries on the way just to reach Messi’s camp. The surreal passion I must say. Maybe he will not get a chance to meet the players but the passion vested with him is exceptional.
On the opposite side of the “No Entry” board, this passion is capable of sweeping everything away. That is why Messi broke free from his own skin, broke free from his own world and now he has finally managed to come out from his confinement. He’s is a now a different Messi altogether!