Why Lionel Messi should thank Michael Phelps, and other ramblings about historical legacies.
It was a chance to stand beside, if not pass, his country’s greatest soccer star. A rare moment, in his prime, when he could take full advantage of his singular talent. A golden opportunity to enter the rarefied air of the consensus all-time greatest sporting legends. Messi (with a massive assist from an excellent defense) made his Argentina squad relevant, at times impregnable, and nearly unbeaten at this World Cup. But in the end, once the comfort of the group stages were behind him, he looked all too ordinary and could not quite inspire his countrymen to glory. Even though he dazzled with his usual mesmerizing dribbles and pristine shots, and even though Argentina made it farther than most expected them to, and even though he was even awarded with the 2014 World Cup Golden Ball (best player) award, many will judge this World Cup as a detriment to Messi’s legacy rather than a benefit. It’s illogical. It’s not fair. It’s also sure to happen. Just look at his face below — despondent for his country’s loss, and surely aware of its ramifications for him as an individual. Here’s why that’s a bunch of bull.