THE GOAT: The Terrifying Allure of Messi

Lionel Messi’s influence has never diminished. Wherever he goes, it’s as fun as going to a festival.

Perhaps it has been a long time since El Salvador football fans have enjoyed such a wonderful atmosphere. That’s not because this country’s national team just won a major title or had any glorious victory, but because Messi and his Inter Miami teammates came here to play a friendly match.

To have a seat in Cusatlan Stadium to watch the match taking place at 8:00 a.m. on January 20, fans have to spend 200 to 475 USD. Actual ticket prices may be inflated through third-party providers. That’s not too important, Cusatlan stadium was filled with spectators when the ball rolled.

Before that, from the moment Messi and his teammates boarded the flight to El Salvador, fans lined up outside hoping to see the Argentine superstar with their own eyes. When the bus carrying the Inter Miami team rolled by, they tried to chase after them, hoping to take a picture of their idol.

Messi is not young anymore, he is 36 years old. But for El Salvador fans, they are interested in the football Leo performs on the field. It is the dance of a star with genius qualities. A player who is different from the rest. The person dancing with the ball with legs that seem ageless.

The moment the bus carrying Messi and his teammates left the airport, fans chanted “Muchachos”, referring to the young man. Was there an art of overstatement here? But in terms of figurative meaning, Messi’s football simply has no age. It is still as bright as the young man’s desire.

On the day of the match, a large number of fans lined up along the path leading to the field. They were there many hours before the ball kicked off. Among the fans, there is a 91-year-old person from San Vicente. After Pele and Diego Maradona, he had the opportunity to directly watch Messi, the owner of 8 Golden Balls.

According to CBS News, Messi initially seemed unable to participate in the friendly match between Inter Miami and El Salvador. The former Barca star was injured in September. This raised concerns that he would not be able to recover in time to play. Luckily, that didn’t happen.

Messi is still so good

When Inter Miami announced the starting lineup to face El Salvador, Messi started. Not only that, Luis Suarez – Leo’s close friend – also stands side by side in attack. They are close friends since their time playing for Barca. At the end of last year, Suarez joined Inter Miami on a free transfer.

Not only Suarez, midfielder Sergio Busquets and left back Jordi Alba also started. Inter Miami suddenly turned into a “miniature Barca”. The clock struck 8 a.m. on January 20, the friendly match between Inter Miami and El Salvador began. Every time Messi touched the ball, excited chants rang out.

Leo is still the same, playing football like an artist. The way he dribbles, dribbles and handles in tight spaces has never lost its quality. There was a situation where he danced in front of 4 El Salvador players rushing to get the ball. As a result, Messi won and only lost when a fifth player came to assist.

In the 35th minute, the quartet that once flourished in Barca’s colors, including Alba, Suarez, Messi and Busquets, had a beautiful coordination situation. Alba crossed the ball from the left wing into the penalty area, Suarez passed it one step back to Busquets – who was standing directly outside the penalty area. The Spanish midfielder passed one touch to Messi and then ran forward. Immediately, Leo also made a one-touch pass to Busquets.

Initially, this ball missed Busquets’ momentum. However, the former Barca star still tried to catch the ball to turn it into an assist for Messi. Leo immediately jumped in and finished. From Alba’s pass, everything happened in 8 seconds. But those were eight seconds of elite football created by the world’s best players.

El Salvador’s goalkeeper played focused in this phase, thus blocking Messi’s shot. Cusatlan Stadium seemed to burst with emotion, even though it was not a goal. Everyone applauded for the combination created by Barca’s former foursome with Alba, Suarez, Busquets and Messi.

After the break between the two halves, the stars Messi, Suarez, Alba and Busquets were withdrawn from the field. Coach Gerardo Daniel Martino of Inter Miami wants to protect the legs of his healthy students. He doesn’t want anything to happen to them, especially since this is the first friendly match with Inter Miami before the new season. The encounter between El Salvador and Inter Miami also ended with a 0-0 draw.

Just watching Messi play football for 45 minutes certainly does not satisfy El Salvador fans. They want to see more from the 2022 World Cup champion. However, for many people, that is more than enough. They understand that as long as they can watch Leo play, it will be an honor, a blessing.

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