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He has scored the Golden Ball six times, played 752 matches in Barcelona and scored 648 goals. Lionel Messi’s genius is recognized by all, but his leadership skills have been widely criticized. When we already thought we had seen all of it, he unexpectedly showed the other’s face. What’s more, he proved in a match he wasn’t the last leader to play on.
Several curiosities surrounded Barcelona’s Wednesday night advance from the Spanish Super Cup semi-finals. For the first time in 23 years, the Catalans fought a penalty duel in which they defeated Real Sociedad. Prior to that, most recently in April 1998, in the Spanish Cup final against Mallorca, the guard won similarly. Catalan fans may not have missed this kind of excitement, but there was also something in the match that they had longed for: Lionel Messi behaved like a born leader.
He didn’t even play the six-time golden ball, he had to miss the match due to injury. Nevertheless, he not only traveled with the team to the meeting, but also actively lived with the game and actually acted as if he were a coach. Here are:
Barcelona win and are through to the Spanish Super Cup final! What a leader and coach Lionel Messi is! pic.twitter.com/n9GXr066pf
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) January 13, 2021
According to reports, as the extra time, he was sent off. Then, when the penalty shootout was over, he celebrated with the team. You could see him encouraging players one by one to prepare for a penalty, and he was also photographed hugging 21-year-old Riqui Puig, who eventually decided to move on.
We could guess that these are gestures to be expected from a team captain, but that was exactly the area where Messi received a lot of criticism. Presence, peer motivation, communication. He has always been contrasted – in this too – with his inherited rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, whose portrayal in the 2016 European Championship finals, for example, has traveled the world like a real leader. Recall, after his injury, the Portuguese led his teammates alongside the sideline in the European Championship final against France.
Nothing like this could be seen from Mess – until Wednesday night. Regarding Argentine, it has always been emphasized that it is quiet and for itself. Given in December, in a more breath-taking interview Messi himself admitted that he was an aloof type, he didn’t like to speak in public, he had a hard time sharing his thoughts with others, he preferred to keep them to himself. It stems from his personality that he’s not so theatrical, he doesn’t want to be in the center when he doesn’t have the ball at the moment. However, to conclude from this is a bad leader, hasty judgment. This was highlighted by the match against Real Sociedad, in which Messi showed that if he couldn’t help his team on the pitch, he could act as a leader outside of it.
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