There are few things that Lionel Messi does on and off the pitch that won't remain for posterity. There have always been videos with his genius. From the fact that he stacked bigger pibitos in the pastures of Rosario to the gems for export that he provides, at this time, from Miami. What's left to see? Probably nothing. Unlike other geniuses, this one had an era in which everything is recorded and the analogue resurfaces posted on Youtube.
Messi surprises live and direct- Then it goes viral. At the Qatar 2022 World Cup after the quarterfinals against Louis Van Gaal's Netherlands, exactly one year ago, he coined an expression that was printed on T-shirts, mugs, tattoos and multiplied in reels, reactions and other interactions on Youtube and social networks that you can imagine. The five most viewed videos on the video platform add up to 30 million views.
The famous phrase and indelible hit, resistant to rust and any type of erosion, is the famous "What are you looking at, silly? Go over there, silly, go over there."
It was impossible for Wout Weghorst, the almost two-metre striker from the Netherlands who was out of the picture and whom Messi rebuked from his seventy metre mark, to understand what was happening. In authentic Rosario – neither a life in Barcelona nor a stay in Paris took away the accent of his hometown – and in the middle of the World Cup, La Pulga put into circulation a new way of sending others to fry churros, to put it subtly.
Although Messi himself regretted having shown his unknown quarrelsome way - "These are moments of great tension, a lot of nervousness, everything happens very quickly and you don't have to think about anything. Actually, it wasn't thought out at all, it happened that way and, as I say, I don't like to leave that image," he acknowledged some time later, the phrase was installed, even if the original recipient took a back seat. As probably very few remember that the first one who "escaped the turtle" was the former U.S. ambassador to Argentina James Cheek, according to Diego Maradona's witticism at the time of patenting – and giving away – a phrase of national circulation.
After the penalty shootout win over the Netherlands, Lionel Messi had a run-in with a member of the Dutch delegation. The captain of the Argentine National Team exploded in the middle of an interview with the TyC Sports channel
Before we know where Weghorst went after the World Cup, we need to know how he got to Qatar 2022. The striker's career was sacrificed: at the age of 20 he managed to turn professional and began his ascending career in the Dutch Second Division. The real leap was in 2018, when he signed for Wolfsburg in Germany. In the year of the World Cup he arrived in the Premier League with the shirt of modest Burnley and, although the team was relegated, he maintained his status as a First Division player.
The next destination was Besiktas Istanbul, on loan, and from that league came Louis Van Gaal's call-up to play in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It was in that context that he reached the quarter-final match against Argentina. Cautioned for protesting from the bench in that heated duel, he stood out with a remarkable performance that forced - due to his two goals - to settle the pass to the semifinals on penalties. Weghorst seemed to make the most of the five minutes of fame that Messi and La Scaloneta gave him. And his career took a turn.
The "anda pa'allá" was an airfare to travel from Turkey to England and take a substantial leap in his career. He arrived as a reinforcement at Manchester United. He scored just two goals in 31 games, starting 20 of them. It wasn't enough to convince the Red Devils' bosses. And neither do the owners of their pass. On his return to Burnley, they looked for another destination for him and he was again loaned out. This time against TSG Hoffenheim, in the Bundesliga, where he has four goals and, with the number 10 on his back, he is usually a starter.
"Qué mirás bobo", the merchandising chosen by Argentines to cheer on Messi and La Scaloneta.
From "look, silly" to this part, its price dropped. According to Transfermarkt's numbers, in the middle of Qatar 2022, his transfer was valued at 14 million euros. Today, it is valued at 9 million of the community currency and the successive loans have also depreciated: it cost Manchester almost three million and Hoffenheim barely one and a half.
Hours before the first anniversary of the phrase that had him as a recipient and was televised live and direct to the whole world, good old Wout was injured. On Friday, after being a necessary part of Erhan Masovic's own goal, he was replaced by Togolese Ihlas Bebou in his team's 3-1 win over Bochum in the Bundesliga. This Saturday marks one year since Leo Messi put the most unknown of the Netherlands' strikers on the map and showed him the way, now downward. Go to Weghorst...
Although the quarter-final match between Argentina and the Netherlands is already a long way off after the joy of the World Cup, no one can forget the phrase "What are you looking at, fool" that Lionel Messi said to the Dutchman Wout Weghorst. But there is a fact that very few know: those same words have been engraved for 400 years in a Galician monastery.