Goal By Messi
by Alex Bajana
It is April 23, 2017. French citizens are voting in their presidential runoff elections. North Korea has detained a US citizen who had been working on relief aid projects. And despite all these world events nearly 650 million people across 185 countries will be glued to their television watching one of the most historic games in soccer history. It’s El Clasico, a match that for 90 years has been played and watched with high emotions. But it is on this date that one player on the pitch cemented his legacy as one of the greatest talents that the sport has ever seen: Lionel Messi.
Messi had just returned to the pitch after receiving a bloody nose from Casemiro, and just four minutes after Madrid had scored, he had leveled the match. Rakitic who had just received the ball from Busquets spots Messi as he is running into the box. A smooth through ball and Messi is dribbling down the box with his eyes set on the goal. He fakes right and in the blink of an eye, the ball was in the back of the net. Just like that Messi had become the leading scorer in El Clasico history. Some of the greatest players in soccer history have had the privilege to play in this game. Greats such as Ronaldinho and Raul, and even including both of the managers for Barcelona and Madrid at the time, Luis Enrique and Zinedine Zidane respectively. And now the little flea from Argentina sat above them all as the top scorer. The kid who needed growth hormones just to reach five foot seven had now reach the pinnacle of the sport. It was a beautiful goal that could not be outdone. That was until the dying second of the game.
The score was tied at two apiece. Madrid had managed to come back while being a man down, and it now looked like they had secured a draw in one of their toughest matches. It was the 92 minute and Sergio Roberto had begun a run down the middle of the field beating Marcelo and getting the ball to the attacking third. A quick pass to Andre Gomez who passes it into the box to Jordi Alba. Alba passes it to the top of the box and as the Madrid defense looks up all they see is a flash of blue as Messi comes barreling down into the box and strikes a wonderful ball that beats Navas and wins the game. Messi runs to the corner and takes off his shirt and simply shows the back of it to the Madrid fans who are in disbelief. He doesn’t do it to show off his abs or to throw his jersey into the crowd. He is simply making a stamen: “Remember the name.” His 500th career goal, something most players only dream about, and it happened in the greatest match of soccer history. This was the moment that made Messi legendary.