Lionel Messi won on Monday evening his eighth Golden Ball. The Argentinian has been entertaining football fans all over the world for twenty years. To honor the world’s best footballer, our football experts Leonne Stentler, Sjoerd van Ramshorst, Jeroen Stekelenburg and Frank Snoeks choose their Messi moment.
Messi owes the award mainly to his performance at the World Cup in Qatar. The attacker did something great there in the semi-final against Croatia, according to analyst Leonne Stentler.
“With a solo from the sideline, he provided the assist to make it 3-0 with a typical Messi action. That was a legendary moment. Messi was not completely fit, his legs were weak, but he grew more and more into the match and it became yet another Messi show.”
The circumstances for Messi at that World Cup made Stentler’s performance extra special.
“Then you’re ridiculously big.”
“He carried such pressure on his shoulders. Everything was about Messi. The whole country leaned on him. Becoming world champion didn’t seem to work after the lost opening match against Saudi Arabia, but it still worked. That was crazy. If the expectations and pressure are so high and you do it anyway, then you are ridiculously big.”
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Studio Voetbal presenter Sjoerd van Ramshorst also mentions his Messi moment at the last World Cup. “It is not the most beautiful Messi goal, but it is a very important one.”
Van Ramshorst is referring to Messi’s 1-0 in the second group match against Mexico. “They lost the first match and during the second match the first half was dramatic. I thought: they are out. I also doubted whether Messi would still be good enough, but then after an hour he shot the ball in from 18 meters .”
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According to Van Ramshorst, that was the beginning of the triumphal procession. “This goal symbolizes the great World Cup. When things go wrong, the big stars have to stand up. With this moment he took them by the hand. He thought: this cannot happen, we will not go away without glory.”
“I didn’t expect him to assert himself so much, no matter how passionate he was. He is therefore the deserved winner of the Golden Ball. He has been so dominant and at that age.”
“Messi is seen as the natural successor to Diego Maradona and what I found unlikely is that he imitated Maradona’s two most famous goals on the pitch,” says reporter Jeroen Stekelenburg.
It concerns a solo goal in Barcelona’s shirt against Getafe in 2007. That is a copy of Maradona’s goal against England in the quarter-final of the 1986 World Cup.
Stekelenburg: “And a fairly young Messi also imitated the famous handball.” That happened against Espanyol. “The fact that he exactly copied those two famous goals is predestined, to say the least.”
“Messi is truly the best footballer in the world. He is one of the top three most brilliant footballers, he has been around for so long and he is so consistent. People come from far and wide to see him play. He hardly misses a match and never lets up. always see. That’s great considering the explosiveness he plays with.”
Commentator Frank Snoeks goes back to the 2009 Champions League final for his Messi moment.
“It was the first Champions League win for Barcelona where Messi was in the final. The then 21-year-old Argentinian, about 1.70 meters tall when he walks on his toes, scored with his head. We already knew quite a lot about him. could do magic with left and right, but we didn’t know yet that he could also head.”
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And while opponent Manchester United had giants on the field, says Snoeks. “Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Michael Carrick, all 1.89 meters. John O’shea, 1.91 meters. And goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar was almost 2 meters. So when Messi scored with his head I was very surprised.”
Messi only scored 24 headed goals in his entire career. The goal in the Champions League final was only his third goal with a header at the time, while he had already scored a total of 86 for Barcelona.”
Snoeks does not think Messi is the deserved winner of the Golden Ball. “Kylian Mbappé deserves him more.”
Snoeks is also no longer a fan of Messi. “For me there are two Messis. The first version was a very quiet boy who never complained and who you never saw asking for cards. He was also a player without tattoos, but that was lost somewhere. He found his way to the tattoo parlor and is complaining more and more.”
“Messi has turned from a dream into a nightmare for me over the years.”
The post first appeared on nos.nl