Analysis: Baikal’s one-time slump against Chile in Santiago, with polo unfit and Kallies unguarded
That year he came to Peru. Between festivity and philanthropy. With program promises from hand Neymar, Dani Alves, Materazzi, Mascherano and many others, Messi I wanted to keep playing ball. After a season in which he scored sixty goals in sixty games, in which he was substituted six times and two others went to the bench, the Argentine was still determined to do what he loved most, in addition, helping others. Leo was twenty-six, it showed.
Today, a decade on, three more Ballon d’Ors, a Copa America and a World Cup later, living in Miami, playing for fun (and a huge salary) and the unanimous admiration of the football world and Hollywood actors, the ’10’ still holds true. Of course, against Paraguay, sometimes from the bench, or in some Inter Miami games, sometimes from the stands after not being invited to “rest him”.
Small actions are best suited for a 36-year-old man, a father who watches his children grow up and co-workers retire. Prove measures, cites Eduardo Saccheriwhat “Everything is due to time, which insists on passing”.
In the sophisticated era of physical, nutritional and scientific products, Messi It stands tall above many if taken into account Cristiano Ronaldo (who is two years older than him) not only for his dedication, but for the motivation that allowed him to push himself to the limits of his abilities as a competitive animal.
On Thursday, Messi entered the match 52 minutes into the third qualifier for the 2026 World Cup. The 80,000 souls packed into the stadium paid their ticket to see the world champions, but more than anything, left 1-0 happy that Messi’s free kick could have extended the lead by two. Not attacking the post.
The genius, the idol, the man who now has a box for himself and his family in the aforementioned placePlayed less than once, but Paraguayans were so enraged that one of them, Antonio Sanapria, spat on him after an argument, which he later repudiated on national television, as an official of dubious discipline.
Albeit against Alpiroja Messi He was a substitute and on the previous date against Bolivia, in La Paz, he didn’t even appear on the list, although he was signed as an assistant so he could sit on the bench where only players and coaching staff were allowed. .
Going back a little further, already in the first match against Ecuador, where Argentina won 1-0 with a goal from Messi, the star left the field – as almost always – just before the end of the game. It’s not just for applause, but to avoid fatigue. “I was a bit tired, nothing, it happened like that, it won’t be the last time I start leaving games”, referring to a smiling Messi to the Argentinian press, and the minor distress of those seriously wondering what will happen after his retirement. “He’s preparing us,” fans were encouraged to say after the reports. Undeniable assumption.
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Messi, the end of a generation
South America currently has only two players who played in the 2006 qualifiers for Germany. Lionel Messi and Paolo Guerrero. Both will appear in court on Tuesday. Both are part of a team that carries with it the remnants of another era, the remnants of a decade like the 2000s that has already begun to seem distant and in which football still looked like it did in the nineties.
Messi was coached by Diego Armando Maradona; Paolo was trained by Gerd Müller. Messi, Ronaldinho’s teammate; Paulo, Oliver Kahn. Messi, Zidane’s rival; Paolo, from Makkaleel. Living history lets us see how the last one in a field has passed.
The Argentine always gives a cautious answer when asked if he can play at the 2026 World Cup (he will be 39): “I don’t know,” he replies with more honesty than dribbling. Maybe it’s time to go step by step, get used to it a little bit, although the football world will never get used to not seeing a stadium again. It could be the start of a wonderful, cinematic ending.