Today, yesterday and possibly for next couple of weeks everybody will be writing up articles and stories about Argentina and Messi winning the World Cup 2022.
Of course the spotlight is on Messi. The fairytale ending has finally arrived in football. Everybody will write about the little boy from Rosario right through his career to the night he lifted the most prestigious trophy in sport history. On top of that there will be many discussions on who is the greatest player of all the time. Plus plenty of posts on how many more records he has broken. What I want to say is that he will be in the spotlight and he fully deserves it. But, football is a team sport and will always be a team sport so we cannot forget his teammates. I want to take the spotlight away from Messi for a short time:
If you are a football fanatic, you’ll understand what I mean. As a kid who loves football and grew up with a ball and even slept with a ball on the bed, we had dreams. Every kid had a dream in their sleep, that he is in the stadium full of fans and everybody have eyes locked on him to take that decisive penalty to win the World Cup. He has picked up the ball, placing it on the penalty spot and at the same time looking at the goal and picking his spot. He has locked in where he wants to place it, prepare his run up and takes the shot. Ball is going towards the goal, keeper has dived the same way, everything is in slow motion and BAM. All of a sudden his alarm has gone off and he has to get up for school and does not know if that ball went in or the keeper saved it. He does not know if he has brought the glory to his country or he has disappointed everybody.
Now, I would like you to take this pressure that we all experienced in our dreams and bring it to life. Just imaging the pressure that Gonzalo Montiel experienced in that 60 or so seconds from walking from the half way line to bringing the glory to his nation. It takes some courage and fearlessness to be in his position. This is on top of all the physical and mental stress he went through before the penalties. Don’t forget, he was the one that gave away France’s extra time penalty so by missing his penalty he could’ve been Argentina’s all fine World Cup villain. Bear in mind, he was also the one that setup Lutaro Martinez for a free header on 124th minute of this amazing final.
Gonzalo Montiel, a 25 years old player that trading his craft in Sevilla at the moment is a product of River Plate academy. A right back with the weight of the whole country plus all Messi fans world wide on his shoulders. Only in sport and only in football the biggest decisions are made by someone as young as 25. You are the one making the decision for millions of people while knowing billions of people are watching you right now.
In 50 years time, everybody remember the 2022 World Cup as Messi’s World Cup and there won’t be much of a talk about Montiel. Just like how everybody talks about Pele of 1958 without mentioning anything about Djalma Santos. But just like Djalma Santos, Montiel had a dream of playing in a World Cup and winning one.
For young players out there, we all cannot be Messi(s) but we can all try hard enough to be Gonzalo Montiel. A player with the same dream as every single one of us. The difference is now he has lived the dream.