You have to have a lot of class and a lot of courage to wear for 14 years the number 9 shirt of Madrid having the soul of 10. In that mismatch nested a distrust towards Benzema that flew over the Bernabéu for a long time. Some rejected him, others did not surrender to him. To the master of pause, imagination and silky technique, they asked for fierceness. They asked him, in short, not to be Benzema. But Karim deciphered football like a wise manuscript and the ball, which is not stupid, always looked for it It was the complement that Cristiano needed, to whom with his movements and associations he gave the goals that he did not score. A very productive society, but with such a major player that it was impossible not to feel secondary. Florentino always admired and protected him, but if Karim survived the pressure it was because he had plenty of personality.
... a player acclaimed.
Cristiano's departure helped him feel more authoritative. And he took on new duties that challenged his talent. He went from being a younger brother to a father to his young partners. From having to defend your game with words to being defended by numbers. He played and scored. He played and made play. Critics deduced that he was "another player." No sir, it was the same crack as always in a different context and in full maturity. He ended up unleashed, lifting the Champions League of miracles and receiving an indisputable Golden Ball that rewarded his achievements, but also loyalty to a singular talent not always understood. This week he said goodbye to us with the usual calm, while the history of Real Madrid welcomed him through the front door.
The best Asensio is leaving.
Marco Asensio also leaves without filling, they say, the very high expectations. I believe that the system did not give him shelter and that they did not give him time. An exquisite player, powerful, harmonious in driving, precise in the pass and with a neat and deadly punch. A kind of shyness in his game was compounded by a serious knee injury. The lack of determination to show their full potential generated a prejudice. And prejudice did not show that, this season, his game changed. He stopped being the player who received the ball, he let it go, always well, and he disregarded. He connected with the game in a more collaborative way. Touching and accompanying, touching and looking for the empty space, touching and looking for position for his lethal shots. It leaves me with the feeling that the club sowed and, when the fruit was ripe (he has entered the prime of his career), he forgot to harvest.
Messi, football, life.
Also Messi, who in the imagination of Barça was back, moves away from Catalonia, from Spain, from Europe. He actually closed the newsstand in Qatar by raising a cinematic World Cup. With a few months of delay, he leaves the big football with all the right that gives him the 36 years that lie ahead and an impeccable career. Barça promised glory with risk and Saudi Arabia inglorious money. MSL is the smarter choice. They will roll out a red carpet for him because his mere presence will skyrocket the League's celebrity. You will enjoy a demanding football, but compatible with life. They will put the next World Cup in the garden of his house, which will help extend the dream of playing it. And it will allow us all to say goodbye little by little to his talent without the shirt (I don't know anyone who hates Inter Miami) interfering. Messi is leaving and, whoever celebrates him, knows nothing about football. Nor of life.
You can follow EL PAÍS Deportes on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.
Subscribe to continue reading
Read without limits
I'm already a subscriber