The biggest game of Lionel Messi’s career

Discussion in 'Featured' started by Josh Bolton, October 2, 2018.

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  1. Josh Bolton

    Josh Bolton Active Member

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    So this will be the apex of it all.

    All those kickabouts on the dusty backstreets of Rosario, all those shimmies and feints that sent his peers in the Newell’s Old Boys youth academy back home to their parents snivelling, all those chips, flicks, drag-backs and goals — oh yes, all those goals — that propelled him to superstardom and beyond for FC Barcelona; this, above all else, will be the moment it had all led to.

    Lionel Messi’s passion for football had been founded on legends. As a child he had been brought up on his favourite story of Ricky and Ossie; two heroic figures born in Argentina but made in London, England. A story so rich in success, he had naturally mistaken it for myth.

    His parents told him the tale every night before bed to get him to sleep: of how two 1978 World Cup winners swapped the sun-scorched plains of their homeland in South America in search of a game filled with glory. A game played in a shirt so resplendent, so pure, so Lilywhite, it had to be seen to be believed. “Did Ossie’s dream really come true, Papa?” a young Leo would ask his father, wide-eyed. “And do you think I will ever get to play at Wembley, too?”

    On the arid football pitches of Argentina in the Nineties, to separate the battered, leather ball from the command of a teenage Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini was to perform an exorcism. As hapless, flailing legs swiped away at his ankles, Leo would beat his man, then another, then another. All the while he imagined himself as his heroes; John Motson’s commentary echoing within his head: “Villa... And still Ricky Villa! What a fantastic run — scored! Amazing goal!

    His talent was spotted immediately; scouts flocking from the far corners of the globe to catch a sight of Newell’s Old Boys’ boy wonder. The cultured left foot, the deftness of touch, the closeness of control: the interested parties saw genius and, without any need for exaggeration, gushed how they had found the rightful heir to Diego Maradona.

    This didn’t exactly sit right with Leo, though. For although belief in his own ability was unwavering, it was actually Mauricio Taricco — another phenomenon hailing from Argentina — who the youngster had been attempting to replicate on the pitch by 2001, and not a disgraced Diego Maradona.

    Then came Leo’s 13th birthday, and a decision regarding his future in football had to be made. Offers were on the table and he had delayed on the decision for far too long; hankering for a call from Glenn Hoddle and Daniel Levy.

    Instead, the only feasible offer had been received from FC Barcelona in Spain; a place where Leo had family, and a club willing to cover the medical bills for his dwarfism. Living in Catalonia will have to do, Leo thought. It’s by no means Hadley Wood, but it’ll have to do. And besides, he concluded, if things didn’t work out at Barcelona he could always end up at Tottenham. Heck, it’s what Gary Lineker did.

    However, days at Barca turned to weeks, weeks into months, and months into years. A move to Tottenham never materialised. He was the architect of his downfall, he mused. All those goals, La Liga titles, Champions Leagues, Copa del Reys, and Ballon d'Ors ensuring — although he never once dreamt it possible —he had gotten too big, even for his beloved Tottenham Hotspur. He was now resigned to the fact that he’d never get to share a pitch with his heroes before the curtains closed on his illustrious career.

    And then it happened. On 30 August 2018 in Monaco, balls were withdrawn from pots, paper unfolded and names read out. Leo crumpled to his knees with glee as it was confirmed that Barcelona would play Tottenham... at Wembley. He descended to his wine cellar to retrieve a vintage worthy of a toast, all the while Chas & Dave’s Greatest Hits boomed throughout his home.

    Finally he had been given the chance to do it, Leo thought, and on the biggest stage of his career. He was now able prove himself worthy of the “Goat” namesake against Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris and Kieran Trippier. He stopped to savour the moment, smiling as he did. He always had a dream of one day playing at Wembley, and now his dream was coming true.

    Last edited: October 3, 2018
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  3. Gertcha Guest

    Your completely off your rocker but it’s a brilliant piece...
    Felon82 and Josh Bolton like this.
  4. Big fran Guest

    No doubt about it this is a massive occasion for the little man to pick his wits against Eric Dier, Harry winks et al... Hope it doesn't faze him and he manages to rise to the occasion on the greatest stage of all.
    In all seriousness though he normally does. Wish I could be there to see the great man himself but I'll be glued to the TV to see if we can stop him and more importantly take some points. I'd take a point now and hope psv can get the win. We probably need all 3 mind. I'm hoping dier doesn't get deployed anywhere near centre half as him vs Leo is an accident waiting to happen isn't it.
    I'd go 4231 lloris Tripps Toby sanchez Rose dier wanyama lamela son moura Kane.
    2 goals each draw.
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  5. Gordon Mc

    Gordon Mc Well-Known Member

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    Marvellous piece Josh - more entertaining than anything I've seen in quite a while, in these depressing, seemingly hate-filled days we're in. Great stuff. Now for a reasonable result with what looks like a badly depleted side.
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  6. Cheshuntboy Guest

    Fabulous piece, but surely the presence of Mauricio 'Bites Yer Legs/Chews Yer Arsen'all/Fouls Yer Owen/After Dinner Speeches POA' Pochettino at Tottenham must be a factor as well? Just a thought.
  7. Peter reed Guest

    just watched the first half of Barcelona not giving the ball away scoring 2 goals one thanks to Lloris having his monthly brain seize and tottenham in their normal fashion not being able to put together more than 2passes.The lack of tra nsfer activity now being shown up for what it was a disaster.can someone tell me what Poch and the England manager see in winks.Kane once again not able to keep the ball and not even getting in the opposition box.Time for the board to question whether poch really is the manager that the fawning press tell us he is
  8. bruski

    bruski Active Member

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    Would all those ignorant Ostriches now like to give us there thoughts on the lack of squad improvement? Brilliant effort from the boys but my God we are playing at elite level with Sissoko and Lorrente as options.....give me strength!
    And I'm afraid Hugo's treatment needs to be in his head as well as his body. Love the guy but he's lost the plot since that massive error in the WCF.
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  9. Felon82 Well-Known Member

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    Well it was a valient effort against a side playing in 2nd gear who had it not been for the woodwork wouldve strolled away 6-2.

    Lloris is an embarrassment a complete and utter embarrassment.
    He's quite happy running out into no man's land when there's no threat and passing it to on coming attackers but when it is time to close an attacker recieving a ball unmarked on the edge of his box he stands rooted to the spot and falls over like a poorly sawn tree.

    Kane with the only piece of quality that actually had any effect on Barca.

    And tonight was a massive exposure of just how paper thin and far off our side is of being anything near a top club.

    Seems the turf at the Theatre of Cheese wasn't the only thing getting turned over in North London today
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  10. Peter reed Guest

    just getting ready to apologise to the team for a spirited second half then pochetino brings on sissoko and he does not disappoint one wild shot into orbit and then lack of control for the last goal -although I blame Lloris for throwing the ball to him when it was crying out for the big boot with Lorentz on.maybe all the lamela haters will now stop as he and moura were the only bright things tonight although Kane scored a good goal.Winks improved second half but don't we miss Erickson and Ali.Iam still waiting to hear the i diots who Supported levy over the non transfers come on here and apologise but I won't hold my breath
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  11. Gordon Mc

    Gordon Mc Well-Known Member

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    Bags of huff and puff, a few rare snatches of quality but by far outplayed - the lack of decent squad options is stark and I thought we were hugely lucky to get away with conceding just 4: Lloris was dreadful again, along with Wanyama, at times Toby and Sanchez were chasing shadows, The Lesser 'Arry offers nothing, Sissoko even less and Llorente is never a match-saving option, although to be fair, he never even got a chance to try, The Greater 'Arry looked cheesed off...… I could go on but I've lost the will. The Summer Transfer Window pigeons have surely come home. Barring a miracle of Biblical standards it's going to be The Thursday Cup after Christmas - even that depends on managing to scrape 3rd place. Oh Dear.
    Last edited: October 3, 2018
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  12. Felon82 Well-Known Member

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    Now is decision making time that other big managers do , they assess what is achievable from here on in....
    There is no point now flogging a dead horse in this competition, and if you're not going to take the Europa seriously then duck out of that too.
    Choose 1 domestic Cup and Top 4 as your priorities and get on with doing yer best in those, these are realistic and achievable but with the small squad we have must be concentrated on.
    But I can see Pochettino being dictated too concerning getting extra money (over substance) to throw into the Stadium abyss by faffing about in everything with no real conviction or clue as a priority instead sadly.
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  13. Spurporter Active Member

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    We could have signed 5 players this summer and none would be good enough to cover for Eriksen and Dele. Without those two Spurs are not Harry Kane's club. We are Harry Winks' club in their absence. I'd say we were doomed beforehand, therefore. Poch's outfit confirmed that suspicion of mine.
    Still, in second period we scored twice and could be at 2:2 draw, if Llorice hasn't gifted visitor's his present on 2nd minute. After that early disaster the objective not to lose became the objective not to get embarrassed. That objective would have been accomplished, should the tie ended 3:2. The forth goal made me very much upset for that reason.
  14. Spurporter Active Member

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    I think Poch got this one wrong tactically. He should have played 3 back and parked the bus, hoping for a draw. Instead he started pressing high in their end exposing our side to Messi. I thought at some point Barca could start scoring at will. Second period was better, but the game was lost in the first.
    Last edited: October 4, 2018
  15. Cheshuntboy Guest

    The absence of several first-team regulars last night clearly didn't help, but if Eriksen has been a passenger for the whole season to date, we can hardly use his injury as an excuse for the defeat, likewise Dembele and Alli, whose form has been up and down like a yo-yo. The simple truth is that we're no longer a young team looking to future success, but a 'nearly' team, many of whose key players are past their best, none more so than Lloris, who is starting to rival Gomes as a disaster in waiting. Making the top four this season would be Pochettino's greatest achievement (not that he's got much else to rival it), and without at least a couple of breakout players from the academy - which has thus far produced sweet FA in the past four years, notwithstanding Pochettino's unjustified reputation for fostering young talent - we look weaker in 2018 than we did three years ago, when we still had Walker, and most of our stars were coming into their prime. Lamela finding some form after FIVE YEARS on the treatment table is some sort of silver lining, but it seems like he's just swapped places with Wanyama - when are we ever going to get it right?
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  16. Big fran Guest

    Boy oh boy did Messi turn up and he was simply magnificent and probably the difference.. Thought we had some very good performances and some equally shocking ones. Playing winks and wanyama not match fit at the same time v quality opposition went tits up.


    Lloris 5. Horror show from the skipper on his return. Massive howler for the first set the tone and we struggled to recover. At fault for the 4th also when he should have played long. Days look numbered.

    Trippier. 7. Had a decent game but maybe out of position for the first but not helped by Hugo rushing out. Possibly targeted by barca as much of their focus was down his flank.

    Davies 7. Stayed home for much of the game but got forward later on but didn't do much wrong.

    Sanchez. 5 Torrid night for the youngster who struggles on the left side. Underhit back passes, lack of concentration and poor in possession.

    Toby. 7. Saved a certain goal after another lloris howler and generally did OK.

    Wanyama. 5. Very poor. Lucky not to see red after numerous fouls and gave ball away for the first. Failed to track Messi for his goal and his legs had gone by half time.

    Winks 6. Another who struggled barring the last 10 mins but was largely anonymous and poor in possession.

    Son. 6 Off day for the Korean who tried but got no change out of Semedo and rightly subbed off

    Moura. 7 Another who did just OK some things came off and some did not. Kept plugging away and could have equalised if not for a good block from Lenglet.

    Lamela 8. By far our best player on the night ran his socks off and got a deflected goal. Shame he went off early as he looked our best threat winning balls high up.

    Harry 8. Not his best game but still very effective got a deserved goal. Led the line well and dropped deal to find space for moura and lamela to push into. Getting near his best.

    Sissoko 4. Please never again. Skied a good chance and mistake for the 4th.

    Llorente 4. Please also ever again what is the point in this man.
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  17. Big fran Guest

    Dier. 6. Did OK in fairness should have started.
  18. Peter reed Guest

    Now the dust has settled could we look at what happened realistically Barca could have had6 and the score flattered spurs .it was a valiant attempt in the second half but don't get confused that we deserved a draw.The Press keep telling us that poch is bringing youth players through if so where are they surely we must have someone better than sissoko.Themisguided theoty that poch improves players has surely been disproved by sissoko and Lorentz and Dier. We really need a strong ieaderwho can stand up to levy or things will gradually get worse.I am willing to bet poch won't be here next year unless we ha ve a miracle January transfer windowMabe we need a manager who has more than one system in his locker
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  19. burnt Well-Known Member

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    The writing was on the wall here before the ball was even thrown in I'm afraid . This is not the same Spurs team we've watched over the last few years and it's not the same Barca team either . What's happened to one of if not the best defensive outfits in England , they've been rotten so far this season , we,re a shambles back there . Our first 11 have been nowhere near firing on all cylinders so far so I'm not sure how much diff it would have made all round but you'd still be more hopefull if they started , we know by now what everyone can do and more to the point can't do .. You have to say they showed great spirit to keep plugging away and it might have nicked them a point on another day but we were also very fortunate overall and it might have been a complete embarassment if Messi's two shots hadn't hit the post .. Make no mistake this Barca side is no great shakes either , they have some worldie individuals but all round theyre no great shakes .. With all our injuries , players out of form and the general lethargy around the place , it doesn't look like getting better anytime soon .. Going to be a right grind of a season I'm afraid . Like Felon mentioned above its time to sit down , take stock , and be realistic about what can be achieved this season . If we do , then it might still possible to stop this season becoming the complete write off its promising to be at this stage ..... C.O.Y.S ....
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  20. Spurporter Active Member

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    Agree with all, except Toby. I thought he was torn apart, showing his upcoming decline due to age, but it may be Vert absence. Anyway, 6 from me to Toby for saving the goal. Otherwise, it would be only 5.

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