The night I finally understood Messi–sort of.

Humanity had just made its greatest discovery, but a certain man by the name of Lionel Messi was trending all around the world.

As Wednesday, April 10, 2019 drew closer, my excitement for the day only kept getting greater by the minute.

At 1830 hours IST, we were to see the first ever image of the event horizon of a Black Hole. Depending on the shape of the event horizon of the black hole at the centre of Messier 87, a galaxy in the Virgo supercluster, we were to conclusively tell whether Einstein’s predictions through his General Theory of Relativity were true, or not.

And well, the crazy genius, Albert Einstein, was correct! The image obtained by the Event Horizon Telescope is akin to that predicted by the equations from the General Theory of Relativity, a paper Einstein had published in 1905.
What does this tell us? We’re very likely on the right path, the one that shall that finally aid us in filling the gaping hole in physics: a complete theory on gravity.

But certainly, that was just one part of the day. Past night-time, I was to come home to see Messi play against Manchester United. The mere thought of watching him play against the men in red was a thought of sheer delight. This night could only go uphill from here, thought I.

Off started the game. Messi, complacent, yet majestic. One could almost feel the worried minds–the horrifying thoughts of those in the Old Trafford whenever Messi was on the ball.

Amidst the game, Chris Smalling caught Messi in the face as he tried to get the ball from him, in what was termed by the commentator as a “good, old Premier League tackle.”

Messi, well, was left hurt, with blood oozing from his nose. From there on, Messi seemed rather complacent, one ought to wonder if that blow had to do something with it, with several sources claiming it hindered his ability to take complete breaths, after the game.

After the game ended, several Manchester United fans as well as football pundits were underwhelmed. Spectators had tuned into the game expecting an absolute demolition of this rusty, inexperienced Manchester United side, but here was a 1-0 victory for FC Barcelona.

Come the return leg at the Camp Nou, though, Ernesto Valverde was certainly ready. The game started with United making multiple attempts, few close to the goal as well.

But at minute 16, Lionel Messi geared up. The gorgeous little man takes the ball off of Young’s feet, absolutely humiliates Fred with a filthy nutmeg, and he slowly pushes the ball a few feet ahead of him to create space. It’s interesting to note here–he doesn’t yet take the shot! He waits for the defenders to somewhat close-in on him, and he shoots the ball at the exact moment De Gea is relaxed. The Spanish keeper can only watch hopelessly as the ball curves past him, ending up at the bottom-left corner of the goal.

Lionel Messi had, once again, crafted a goal out of virtual nothingness–sorcery.

And yet, it had now become a sight of rather commonality. It’s at moments like these that one truly confronts the daring question of our petty existence: Perhaps, the purpose of life is simply to watch Lionel Messi play football? A game where a bunch of people chase an inflated spherical object? Maybe. Just maybe.

And then, of course, 4 minutes later, Messi put the icing on the cake with a right-footed finish, which the famously proclaimed “best keeper in the world” was unable to handle. Chants of “Messi! Messi! Messi! Messi!” had now completely engulfed the stadium, it was game-over for United. One certain man had ended Olé Gunnar Solksjær’s Champions League campaign in his first season as the United manager–and it only took him 20 minutes.

The game ended with a dominant display for Barcelona, with them finally advancing to the Semi-final of UEFA Champions League, for the first time since 2015. A final score of 3-0, in favour of the Catalan side.

As captain Messi walked off of the pitch, every single spectator in the Camp Nou was only left wondering about the unquantifiable, inexplicable genius of the mighty, mighty man.

And in my attempts of trying my very best to understand and describe Lionel Messi, I pondered upon a rather convincing parallel.

Messi, is quite like gravity. It’s one of the most basic forces of the Universe, it’s the simplest one to study. It’s the one that keeps us aground, it’s the one that keeps planets intact, it’s the one that keeps galaxies in their local superclusters.

And yet, it’s the one we’re not entirely sure about, yet. It’s one that we simply have not been able to quantify, quite like the talent of Lionel Messi.

One can try and measure him–count the number of goals, assists, dribbles, key passes, xG, and so on. One can draw otherworldly statistics on Lionel, depicting just how efficient he is. Abstract and machine-like, at the very same time! Messi transcends our understanding of things. He makes one question absurd stuff: can something so subjective, so poetic, have objective significance in this ever-changing, yet somehow incorrigible world?

Certain events shall keep happening, every now and then. Some, more important than others. Some, more interesting than others. Some, of greater grandeur than others. But individuals? Geniuses? Someone of the status of the ecstatic, almost Godly Lionel? Not everyday. Not every month. Not every week. Not every year.

And yet, here we are. Watching a certain guy kick around a football, pouncing around in green, putting a smile on every single one of our faces, almost every week.

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