Messi in Madrid’s jersey

By Ediale Kingsley
Lionel Messi is the winner of the Ballon d’Or for the 6th time. And that is a new record, one more than Cristiano Ronaldo. The Argentine has won all of the 6 ‘prestigious golden ball on a rock’ as a one-club player. Virgil van Dijk gave him the closest competition after helping Liverpool to win last year’s Champion’s League. It was the first time the Yachine Trophy (Trophée Yachine) was presented to the best goalkeeper of 2019-Alisson Becker.

Messi picked this award after pulling a stunning performance at the Metropolitano stadium in Atletico Madrid. It was the first time Leo Messi was scoring on that soil and he did it in style. Dashing through the right flank of the pitch, across the front of the box 18, before giving and receiving the ball from Luiz Suarez, and then bending a shot to beat Jan Oblac.

And that happened at the 88th minute when it looked like Atletico Madrid were going to pick a point from the fixture. And they could have very much picked a draw if Leo Messi wasn’t a Barca player. A statement Diego Simeone, Atletico’s manager, said last season.

The Argentinean had curled in a trademark free-kick to secure victory, prompting Simeone to remark of the number 10’s impact after the game: “It was so close if he had put on an Atlético shirt we would have won.”

And it was Deja Vu on the eve of the Ballon Dor event. But…

For real, Messi has once worn the red the red-and-white stripe jersey before.

In an October 2009 charity game arranged in Messi’s native city of Rosario, at Newell’s Old Boys’ Stadium (the club where Messi started his career). Messi was spotted and captured that day in a side captained by Maxi Rodríguez, wearing a Rojiblanco shirt in the first half. Since it was a ceremonious match, at the second half Messi switched to Javier Zanetti’s team (Inter Milan).

That day, hundreds of underprivileged children in Argentina were beneficiary of the gamed themed “Solidarity without borders”. The conveners were Atlético Madrid Foundation and the Fundación Pupi Zanetti.

That was the closest Atletico Madrid ever got to having the Barca legend play for them. And does that affect 6-time-ballon-dor-winner’s one-club status? Of course, Messi would eventually, one day leave Barca for another club. When he does, I believe it will be just like Andre Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez who left the club of their youth to go play in a team that will never have a competitive fixture with Barcelona.

It’s almost a given that Messi could retire at Barca. The other option would be for him to go play out his old age in his boyhood club, at Newells in Argentina.