The Price Of The World Cup: Was It Worth It?
The 2022 World Cup final was glorious with a dream scenario, but's end imposed more questions than it had answered.
It seems like Messi's career trajectory was almost like a list of requirements created by random people's random criteria to being a legend. League titles, check. Champions League titles, check. International titles, check, just like a grocery list that Messi needed to get in order to escape the shame. Titles that needed to be won to convince others so they wouldn't label you negatively.
Think about it for a second, Messi and Cristiano spent most of the last fifteen years on top of their games, the stars of their teams, and the breakers of most records. Cristiano is now labelled as a failure for failing to win the World Cup. I know the label is he's a "very good player" but we all know it is meant to be an insult. So, Messi, and Cristiano for that matter, won't convince people to label them differently because all their past accomplishments didn't convince these people either. I expect that many of you have seen that in action already.
Messi couldn't have done anything in the World Cup or the final that he hasn't done before, more than once. But, the funny thing is we needed Messi to win the World Cup to realize that fact clearly. Messi didn't need his best to win the World Cup, he also didn't need the best team he ever played with to win the World Cup. The redoubtable fact is that the World Cup didn't show Messi's best performance, not on the club or international level, not even his best performance in the last three months. Still, he won the World Cup against a team that is superior on paper but didn't play like that.
The issue is that all of these facts can't fit into a meme, so we need to ignore most facts just to ask people if they'd like fries to go with that salt, or tell them to cry more and get a life.
With all that I mentioned here, one question remains:
Was It Worth It?
Or more precisely
Was the World Cup trophy worth going through all the accusations of laziness, doubts, insults, humiliation attempts, constant heartbreak, and the wrath of an entire nation and almost half the football community on the internet? Was it worth all the crying, all the hostile statements, the psychological abuse and pain, and the endless comparison to the past and future stars? Was it even worth it for us to fight about it for 12 years?
So was this it? Do you not feel the silliness of this entire ordeal? I know more people claim that they could finally admit that Messi is the G.O.A.T and that he "completed football", but the fact is Argentina winning the World Cup merely embolden them to say so, they always thought that highly of Messi but they just afraid of the mockery online if they said that 8 days ago even. No one was convinced of anything, it was just that people were finally released from their fear.
This Is Messi Afterall
I think we could all agree on that fact. This is Messi, not Paul Pogba or anyone who needs to play well for 7 games every few years to keep his name in the market and could afterwards get paid top money without even playing another 7 games that well at the club level. In fact, this even shows us that it was easier for the likes of Pogba to play top-level football for 7 games than to play well for one whole season. This is a fact.
This is why it matters that in the moment of victory remember what it cost you and whether or not it was worth it. It is important to learn about it so you wouldn't waste your time running behind a mirage. This is the dilemma that comes from miracles if we could even call what happened a miracle. It is a dilemma that comes after a victory which required a lot of work and a lot of sacrifices, so much so that when you remember the amount of work and sacrifice you ask yourself, was it all worth it?
The problem is that even when the answer is no, you could never admit it because that would mean you lost everything. You lived through the pain and didn't even get a reward which was worth it. That's why, even if it's the truth, you will never admit it, not even to yourself.
This doesn't mean Messi isn't happy. Whether he is happy or not, we will never know due to the reason in the paragraph above and Messi's own nature. And even if the work, effort, and sacrifice he put into the reward were more valuable than the reward itself, he would never admit it for his own sanity. It is so he would not feel that he wasted 12 years of his life, sacrificing his inner peace and feeling psychological pain feeling dereliction for a reward that wasn't worth it.
Based on what Messi went through along with the players and coaches of the Argentina squad, generation after another, this was a huge victory. But in their case, Messi specifically, it was what is called a Pyrrhic victory.
Named after Pyrrhus of Epirus's victory over Rome when he led the Greeks into a deathly Battle of Asculum, Pyrrhus did win, but in the process, he lost most of his soldiers and generals. He won but had no one left to celebrate with him. Ever since the term has been used to describe battles which require a lot of sacrifice and suffering that simply exceed the value of the victory.
Premier League football is back today, the rest of the top leagues will soon follow as will every aspect of club football. But, I feel that this win was needed to realize the silliness of things we all chose to pursue as fans and hopefully, it leads us to appreciate the overall work of footballers more instead of demeaning them for one shortcoming, although I seriously doubt that will happen.
It certainly did with me. Ive always been team CR7 but it's harder to debate for him. Messi shouldn't tested himself in the EPL to put the debate to bed
To me, Messi was already the GOAT but adding this world cup to his achievement was like adding a cherry to the top of an ice cream. What Messi has done in football will forever be remembered in football history and I am happy to have been in his era.