• July 25, 2024

Even exceptional talents face challenges: Lionel Messi’s journey and the evolution of perceptions in football.

Despite his consistent displays of extraordinary abilities over the years, Lionel Messi remains a mere mortal and, like the rest of us, isn’t flawless after all.

 

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The Paris Saint-Germain forward finds himself suspended by the club for taking an unauthorized visit to Saudi Arabia for a family holiday during the season, adding fuel to a fire that already appears to be burning away his future in Paris.

For a man that is heralded as an exceptional figure in the footballing world, you’d think he can do no wrong. But he can. There’s a secret darker side to Messi.

He’s the role model of football; immensely talented, incredibly famous, won everything there is to win, and just too good. Which makes it very intriguing to see what it would be like if the shoe was on the other foot, and he became the villain.

Messi’s sneaky holiday to the Middle East with his family has made that somewhat realistic, with PSG not at all happy with their star man. It’s not the first time he’s gone rogue, though.

First Barcelona red card

 

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This one felt like the straight-A student getting a detention for the first time. You simply couldn’t comprehend it, and neither could they.

After 520 games, Messi was shown his first and only red card for Barcelona in 2021 against Athletic Bilbao in the supercup final.

With Barca losing in extra time, Messi charged down the field but was bumped by Asier Villalibre. Unhappy with the incident as the bump occurred after he passed the ball, Messi expressed his frustration and discreetly launched a flailing arm his way, which led to him receiving a straight red card. Very mischievous.

Feud with Wout Weghorst

 

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Messi, after completing his post-match interview, turned his attention towards Weghorst, looking behind the camera and remarking, “What are you observing, silly?” This showcased Messi’s classic heel behavior, fully embracing his role and setting up an intriguing matchup for the upcoming monthly pay-per-view event.

Feud with Louis van Gaal

Involved in tax fraud

On a more serious note, Messi and his father Jorge were found guilty of tax fraud in 2016 following the Panama Papers data leaks in previous years.

Both received a 21-month suspended prison sentence and were fined €1.7 million and €1.4 million respectively.

No longer the crowd pleaser

Witnessing the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner flaunting his skills in person is enough to leave you in awe, but that star power seems to have diminished in Paris.

Messi and his PSG teammates faced jeers from the crowd after losing 1-0 at home to Lyon in April 2023. However, instead of acknowledging the fans in even the slightest manner, the Argentine headed straight to the tunnel without hesitation.

Not a good look after losing a crucial game, especially considering the uncertainty surrounding his future.

Mocking Mexico during the World Cup.

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