Nicholas Otamendi might have gotten Argentina the win with the match’s only goal. But it was Leo Messi all the way and by some distance. He whipped in the corner that led to the centre back’s first goal for the Albiceleste. This was Alejandro Sabella’s debut and he must have been glad the little maestro was at hand to pull the strings. The match was played in Kolkata and its soccer mad inhabitants loved every moment. Messi mania indeed!
Messi with his abhorrence for diving would be the perfect poster boy for Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption crusade. I can see the ad- a multitude of legs trying to scythe him down and yet he does not tumble staying on his feet on the path to scoring a goal. Splice that with images of an India crippled by scandal after injurious scandal of kickbacks, bribery, and graft as a sonorous voice makes the connection.
But I digress. It was the world’s best best footballer turning up to show how the beautiful game is played to a multitude of Indians starved of good football in their own land. To extrapolate it into a turning point is ridiculous. Can an Indian do a sliding tackle? The day he can then and only then will Indian football have turned it around.
Sabella shows already that he knows more about the game than Diego Maradona and Sergio Batista combined allowing Messi in his free role and introducing Javier Pastore at the right time.