Every decision made by Lionel Andrés Messi in the remainder of his career as a footballer must be reviewed from a gesture that went viral. There is talk of Leo's "that's it, that's it" looking at the box where his family was minutes after becoming world champion at the Lusail stadium in Doha. The Argentine captain made an extra move on that historic day: a shy "chau" with his hands. So, that exciting "that's it, chau", is inevitably a turning point in the life of the best footballer in the world. And under that prism it is convenient to analyze his arrival in the MLS. A question arises among so many news: how will it affect the Argentine National Team that Messi plays in Inter Miami? Or even more incisive: will Leo's arrival in the United States be related to the World Cup to be played there in 2026?
Messi, in his official announcement with the Catalan media, launched another phrase that will be marked by fire. "I want to get out of the spotlight and be more with my family," said the Rosario. The feeling is unmistakable: Messi's time competing in the elite that is European football is over. Leo's transfer to Inter Miami has to be seen as the beginning of the end, as the first step of retirement. And he deserves it, by the way.
It will lower Messi's level as a logical matter of the average flight of the American league. The equation is simple: if you surround yourself with good footballers, your performance rises; If you surround yourself with bad guys, there is no growth. Leo knows this better than anyone and that is why this decision is perhaps the most transcendental of his career. Anyway, just in case, you have to leave room for amazement because with the Rosario you never know: he may get bored of playing without adrenaline and return to the big leagues sooner rather than later, even with 36 years.
Messi, in the air, after winning the Copa America at the Maracanã. (AP)
It's time to be selfish and think about what will come for the Argentine team commanded by Lionel Scaloni. Messi will have the 10 and the captain's ribbon until he decides. He has earned that luxury. But he will deliver a little less Leo because the demand of the MLS is not the same as the Champions League, for example. Even from the physical they are not comparable. A fact from the calendar: in the United States it is played from March to December, as long as the team qualifies for the playoffs; If not, he would be free in October.
Now the friendlies against Australia in China (Thursday 15) and against Indonesia in Jakarta (Monday 19) appear. What comes next can be related to Leo's arrival in North America. The Copa America 2024 will be played there, with the participation of 6 Concacaf teams, and beyond in time the 2026 World Cup, which will be organized by the USA, Mexico and Canada. It is worth remembering that in the run-up to the Qatar World Cup, Messi signed with Paris Saint Germain, a club owned by Qatari capital. The outstanding fact is that, to play the World Cup, the Flea would become the only player in history to play six world championships.
Messi and Scaloni when they arrived in Ezeiza with the World Cup. (Photo by Luis ROBAYO / AFP)
Deducing what Scaloni will be thinking with Messi's departure from Europe is a game that will be played at this time. The coach will speak. But you can also review the file. "Leo has earned the right to decide the future, but the 10 will always be reserved for him. He no longer has any outstanding account with the National Team, if he had one. It's a pleasure to have trained him. And, for now, I think we should save him a place for the next World Cup. Much more if they are 26 on the list," said Lionel Scaloni hours after lifting the World Cup. "I think Messi can play in the next World Cup. It will depend a lot on what he wants, on what happens over time and on whether he feels good. He is happy inside a court and the doors will always be open, for us it would be very good, "he added days later.
From now on it is necessary to enjoy what is left of Messi with the shirt of the National Team. Whether it is a lot or a little will be defined by him. For now, he has 174 games, 102 goals and 54 assists; He lifted 5 titles, one of them the most dreamed and sought after of his career.