Messi makes me feel like a little child again; he makes me forget about the rest of my life and the responsibilities that come with it; for a while he even makes me forget the place and time I’m supposed to be attached to. Messi doesn’t exist in any place or time. He doesn’t exist in the reality the rest of us share. He exists in something more permanent: in an infinity whose scale is beyond the comprehension of us mortals. When the ball is at his feet, he takes us to that place. For a short while, we get to marvel at his impossibility, we get to count the stars of his infinite Universe and see things that ours doesn’t hold. A whole new world opens up before our eyes and for a while, we believe in something paranormal – in something that defies logic and common sense. We subconsciously find ourselves holding our breath when Messi touches the ball, just in case he takes us to the mesmerizing depths of his unparalleled and visionary genius. Wide-eyed, all senses alert, we watch him, and it’s when we most feel alive. It’s when we momentarily feel detached from the shackles that chain us to the boundaries imposed by our normal reality.
Watching Messi makes me believe in being able to touch a rainbow or catch a lightning in a bottle. When he has the ball, I believe he could take off at any moment and paint the skyline with his left foot. I believe in the irrational, the ridiculous, the absurd. Even when I find myself greedily expecting those things, he manages to do something so surprising and beautiful that it leaves me emotional. It leaves me in search of words, but only until I realize that no human dictionary was designed to describe these kinds of things – no past generation has ever seen these kinds of things. Words are weak; they crumble in the face of something so divine and bow to the creature that so delicately captures the essence of beauty in a way they never could.
On Saturday, in the Cup final against Athletic Bilbao, he did it again. He received the ball near the half-way line and had the Camp Nou hold its breath. He had three players surrounding him; logic suggested he would lose the ball before he made it anywhere near the opponent’s box. But the opponents didn’t matter to him: they were mere bystanders. They were like the bad guys of a bad action movie who are shoved out of the protagonist’s way. On this occasion, though, they starred in what was a classic; a motion picture worthy of universal praise. As the ball eventually crossed the line and left the Athletic defense disheartened and in disbelief, we were in Messi’s Universe again. We were deep in his miraculous world, inhaling every bit of it, believing in the impossible and watching it become the routine.