“If that was Lionel Messi, everybody would be raving about it.”
Ten little words that figuratively make my blood boil every time they are uttered. For it is complete nonsense and lacking any respect to the world of football to bother.
Repeatedly we see players of a very high standard produce fantastic pieces of skill, or score a sublime goal and pundits (and Twitter users) cry out that it isn’t getting the appreciation it might deserve, because Messi has not been the one to do it.
Saul Niguez was the latest recipient of this inane sentence after his wonderful solo goal for Atletico Madrid against Bayern Munich in the Champions’ League semi-final on Wednesday. The Spanish international beat several men in a jinking run before curling the ball past Manuel Neuer to score the only goal of the game, prompting Gary Lineker and his inept team of BT pundits to spout that garbage once again.
This is absolute bollocks on a few points:
There is the suggestion that if Messi was in fact the perpetrator behind this moment of genius, we would mostly likely shrug our shoulders, realising that this is a regular occurrence for him, to produce on a game-by-game basis. We might revel in the idea that we are fortunate to have geniuses like him and Cristiano Ronaldo playing in our game, entertaining us with their tricks and flicks every week. But unlikely to go crazy for yet another moment of brilliance from the little maestro.
Secondly, it suggests that the player responsible is not capable of doing this on a regular basis, lauding it as some fluke that is perhaps not worthy of extravagant appraisal as said player has not produced multiple moments of magic in our ever-decreasing recent memories.
While any non-league wonder-strike is marvelled in its brief moment as a ‘viral video’, a professional footballer is believed to be able of such feats, but the fact that they are not currently one of the best players in the world somehow makes this achievement less significant.
The third and perhaps most salient point is that they are saying this on a broadcasting show most likely being watched by millions of people. And they are raving about it! They are talking it up as a wonderful individual piece of skill, so it beggars belief as to why they would disrespect everybody involved by instantly putting the player in question down by saying they are not as good as Messi.
It’s contradictory at the very best and disrespectful shite at the worst. That you could watch a goal like that and instantly drop the caveat the Saul is not the best player in the world and their initial complimentary words should not be taken too seriously.
Saul Niguez is an international with the reigning European champions and in a decent position to board the plane to France this summer to help Spain defend their title. He is playing with the side currently joint top of La Liga.
There is nothing to suggest that any player requires to have their accomplishments diminished by instantly comparing him to one of the greats of the game and then suggesting that nobody is raving about it.
There are many daft clichés that need getting rid of from the world of football-speak, as they are either a) heavily outdated, or b) woefully incorrect/nonsense. This is the first thing that needs dropping. Just fucking enjoy something for what it is.