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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez: The Goblin and The Apache

by Oscar R. Amoia for World Football Commentaries

Translated from the Spanish by Steve Amoia.

Photo credit: Buenos Aires Street Art.
Lionel Messi. What hasn't been said of this authentic virtuoso of football up until now. Hundreds and thousands of words have been written and read analyzing this exceptional player. But what happens to him when he plays for Argentina?

As usual, a unique truth doesn't exist. What you do find is a blend of questions that make a theme and a team that does not have a definite style of play. The players come together days before to form a group. The pressure to want to assume a leadership role that by his personality, Messi doesn't have. Exaggerated anxieties to demonstrate before his people who he really is. All of this influences, all of this is felt, all of this produces a result that has been seen. The best player in the world playing fastidiously, exaggerating more than what is usual without success, not achieving what he wants, what the fans want. Everything is fed again through the circuit.

Not the New Maradona

The Argentinean fan believes that Messi is the new Diego Maradona, but nothing is further from reality. They are not comparable in many aspects but fundamentally in how their personalities are manifested. Maradona has been and still is a rebel. A rebellious leader that puts all of the pressure on his own back, who is angry with everyone, who was discussed by the whole world by his words and his play. Who can forget his insults during the 1990 World Cup final in Rome when they played the Argentinean Hymn and all of the Italians present at the stadium jeered and whistled? That was Diego, a rebel, a born leader, an exceptional player in every aspect but with an added measure that made him different.

Messi: His Only Love is the Ball

Image credit: Barnes and Noble.
Messi is almost a goblin of the football. A Playstation player who does what nobody does with the pace like nobody. But he doesn't have the charisma or the attitude of a leader. He is a guy with a low profile. He only speaks with the ball, he doesn't insult anyone, he doesn't fight. You almost don't even recognize his voice. His love is the ball and certainly he treats it as such.

But if you don't ask him to be Diego, he would be calm, in his play that entertains and that he isn't the boss of the team. With FC Barcelona, Messi is that goblin. The one who appears with his demonic bursts and cuts opposing defenders to threads. But he isn't the leader of the team. That is not for him. Messi wants to play with the ball; nothing more than that. We should leave him to do what he surely does better than anyone.

Carlos Tevez, the People's Player from Fort Apache

Tevez is the player from the village, the people's player, born in a very humble place in a very marginal neighborhood: Fort Apache. He developed in a footballing sense with C.A. Boca Juniors from where he launched himself abroad. A player loved by the people, for his cunning, for his success, for never forgetting his past, for his simplicity, for his almost epic permanent force on the pitch. Until the last two months, he wasn't considered in the manager's plans for the Copa America. The pressure by the media, from the fans and from some other directives put him in the team to be selected for this tournament immediately after a phone call.

It didn't go well. Batista put Tevez out on the left flank (#11 position) and it didn't work out at all. He did what the manager asked of him but not with his recent history or with the fans behind him. Tevez put forth all of his heart and soul as always, but his powerful football and his goals didn't show up. He tried, he pushed, he hoped, but he couldn't deliver. He wondered around lost on that left flank taking to task his assigned position but disappearing. Almost unrecognizable in a team that like always appeared disconcerted.

About The Author

Oscar Amoia is a financial professional from Buenos Aires, Argentina who grew up in the neighborhood of La Boca. Oscar is a socio vitalicio, or lifetime member, of C.A. Boca Juniors. He has contributed commentaries at the International Herald Tribune 2006 World Cup Fan Blog, Soccerlens and World Football Commentaries. You can read his other commentaries here.

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