Photo by Adidas Italy
When I was in Mexico last week, all the talk was around an extraordinary letter written by the world’s greatest footballer Leo Messi. Or was it? Everyone I spoke to felt for Messi and were pro his cause … now Messi has announced he didn’t write it. Which is absolutely true. But the letter is still brilliant, moving and worth reading…
"I write this letter, with my ears still full of the whistling I received the day of the tie with Colombia, and I think I have no choice but to address these words to the Argentinean people.
It is said that I am the best in the world. Who is saying this? I don’t know. What does being the best in the world mean? I don’t know either. I only know that I am a football player who has done well. I also know and remember my story. From a very young age I started playing football. My childhood was based on work and sacrifice to get to where I knew I wanted to get. In the middle of it the unthinkable happened: my physical development was not right for me to become a professional football player. I needed a very expensive treatment that my family couldn’t pay for. I tried to get for support from Argentina, my country, but I didn’t get it. With my parents, I knocked on many doors in vain. Nobody wanted to take a risk on a small child. Even River closed its doors on me, thinking I was not worth it.
At that moment a foreign club was interested in me. They invested time, money and doctors. They supported my family so that they could live and be close to me. Without rushing things they helped me and then I started to play. With organization and without skipping any steps. That club was Barcelona.
Just then in Argentina someone warned them that they were missing out on an opportunity of a great player. So because they’re not stupid, they arranged a special game with the Argentinean youth club to keep me from playing for Spain. Kudos to Argentina.
Now every time I play for my country, like in the Copa America, I donate every penny I make to charity. All the responsibility is on me. Are you forgetting that Football is a team sport? Do you think things just happen because of magic? Don’t you understand that football, like every sport, is about gaining a few seconds from the other team? In today’s world you cannot improvise…
You want Argentina to play like a local team but you don’t want the work and organization from the club. Without work and organization there is no way to be successful. In Football or in any other aspect of life. Argentineans don’t seem to care about anything, destroying their idols over and over again. You didn’t care about glorifying Maradona to then trash him. And now you want to do it to me?
It’s painful for me to say it: I love Argentina, but I'm tired of Argentineans. I’m tired of giving explanations because some of you think that I am the best in the world. I'm tired of being compared to Maradona, or any other. You glorify me and then assume that I have to be accountable for it. I'm tired of the disrespect to my colleagues when they are compared to me. I'm tired of you not understanding that I am just one of them, and that I wake up every morning trying to do my best.
If Argentineans stopped demanding miracles from me, and started demanding hard work and organization from their leaders, starting with the football leaders, things could get better. If not, it doesn’t matter. But leave me and my family alone."