When all through the house there was a shout; Estudiantes had--again--almost knocked Leo Messi out.
Nobody in football takes more knocks than Messi. Hello, Manny Paquiao doesn't get hit as much as Messi. Yet Messi almost always gets the final word. Just as he did Saturday in the Club World Cup final against Argentina's Estudiantes, the South American champions.
Battered for more than 90 minutes, Messi scored the winning goal at 110 minutes redirecting a Dani Alves cross with his chest. Yes, that same chest that absorbs too many elbows, too many nudges that put him to the ground, too interactions with enemy colors. Only Messi's ankles have cause to complain more than his chest.
Messi is the best player in the world. I've transitioned away from Cristiano Ronaldo, and it's a tough move. Ronaldo is spectacular. He's fast, scores many goals and draws attention away from his talented teammates. You can say all of those things about Messi, but there's something about Little Leo. His burst of speed and magnetic feet enable him to dazzle opposing defenses and leave them wondering just how he got through the crowd of legs and elbows. Where Ronaldo's first instinct in a crowd is to dive, Messi's first instinct is to maintain balance and get a shot off.
Messi is part of the greatest midfield in the world today with Xavi and Iniesta; they could be the greatest midfield of all time. But none gets punished more, and produces more than the little Argentinian.
So three cheers to Leo Messi, happy holidays and stay healthy. Selfishly, I want to watch you play for many years to come.