Seyram A. Butame

You see the Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys/ They ain't gonna fight no wars.

How to contain a legend

09 December 2022

Get that guy! Get him! Get him!

That’s what I imagine the players saying as they chase down Messi. Today Argentina scraped by with a victory against the Netherlands during their quarterfinal match-up at the World Cup in Qatar. This World Cup in Qatar is most likely the last for both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, the greatest players of the previous two footballing generations (i.e., the mid-2000s through to the Present).1

Because of the threat both players can pose on the pitch, opponents have to plan how to neutralize them effectively. The Dutch team was somewhat successful in today’s match-up. But because so many pitch resources have to be spent dealing with the threat, you end up with pictures like the above; Messi behind the ball, being chased down by three players no less, who look immensely uncomfortable. And to highlight how much of a threat Messi can pose, in the image he is being chased down by Virgil van Dijk, Cody Gakpo, and Marten de Roon, none of whom are slouches at football.

Update 2022-12-10

Another picture capturing a similar moment to the above. This time, it’s Kylian Mbappe, the young phenom from France, pulling the attention of not one, not two, not even three, but six whole players. That’s half the team that is fielded.

  1. I don’t take stock in the nonsensical discussion about the greatest of all time (i.e., GOAT). It is a pointless and tautological exercise based entirely on personal preference. But sports fans seem inclined to have it be the centerpiece of any discussion concerning phenomenal players.