Just last week Lionel Messi was made to recall the moment that could have changed the world’s outlook on his 2014 and enhanced even further the legacy of a player regarded as the best of all-time by various commentators, players and coaches.
Captaining Argentina in their first World Cup final for 24 years, Messi had the sort of half-chance he has made look routine in scoring over 400 career goals to put his country in front two minutes into the second-half, but, on his trusted left foot, pulled his shot inches wide of Manuel Neuer’s far post.
“If I had scored that goal in the final, they would have said I had a spectacular World Cup,” Messi told Argentine newspaper Ole.
Instead, his election as the best player at the tournament was widely derided, many suggesting the fact the award was sponsored by one of his principal promoters Adidas was a convenient coincidence. Even FIFA president Sepp Blatter admitted his “surprise” to see a desolate Messi having to suffer the indignity of climbing to the presidential boxes twice to collect his individual award and then a losers medal in front of the eyes of the world.
For a lesser light the experience could have had a more lasting effect. Yet, less than five months, on Messi has put his legacy back up for debate by breaking two historic records to become the top goalscorer in both the history of La Liga and the Champions League at just 27 years of age.