Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Lionel Messi, Being Endearing

I found my way to this interview of Leo Messi on Youtube, with English dubbing. Please note the fact that he has to be reminded of who his first Champions League opponent was, and who he first scored against. What a guy.

Actually, one thing that's sort of curious about Messi is that he seems untouched by the professionalization of modern international sport -- the advance scouting, the video recordings of opponents, the convoluted and intricate training methods. He's a throwback in the sense that he just sort of plays and does nothing else. For instance, this little tidbit was from a piece Sid Lowe wrote in advance of the Champions League final against United in May:
There was, though, a hint here that Messi does not know a huge amount about his opponents. Asked about Patrice Evra, his likely marker on Wednesday night, there was a pause, a laugh and the sneaking feeling that the Argentinian had never heard of him. "He is," Messi said simply, "a great player."

Which is strange, only because Messi played against him the previous year in the exact same competition.

Also, when I went to Seattle to watch Barca play an exhibition game last month, I was there early enough to watch the warm ups and the loosening up and stretching and everything that happens before the actual game. The two guys who took that most seriously were Xavi and Puyol, as you would expect. The guy who took is least seriously, by some distance, was Messi. He was just sort of trotting about, trying to do as little as possible -- almost as if to say, "Bloody hell, can we just play the game already?"

As I said, what a guy. Anyway, here's another interview of his where he's very lovable.


sg said...

jeez dude. your man-crush is nauseating.

Ahsan said...

Haha. It's going to be a long ten months for you, SG, if you find this nauseating.

Sputnik said...

Sg took my comment.

Cesc Pistol said...

I think I'm starting to share your man crush...

I love watching his interviews. What a guy!

Though I'm not entirely sure that his lack of enthusiasm in training or tactical study of opponents would be a good thing in the long run.

Throughout the preseason he seemed to not try hard enough but it's different when things get serious so it's not correct to judge on what was seen in preseason.

Ahsan said...

Cesc Pistol:

I agree on the long run thing. The best players read the game, study the game, and use all their experience. This is true in any sports. Right now, Leo gets by on instinct and talent, which is fine. But as his physical talents start to erode when he gets older, he's going to have to rely on his brain more.

As for the preseason thing, yes, I would have believed that this is only a preseason thing, but I've heard and read this about Messi in other places too. Apparently Pep had a massive influence on his training methods; under Rijkaard he apparently did no (or very little) stretching and exercising.