Something extraordinary happened on 17th Match 2019. FC Barcelona playing on Real Betis’s home turf, tormented them with an easy 4-1 win. What followed next were scenes not witnessed often in the world of sports. The opposition supporters stood up to applaud the genius of Lionel Messi. It was not the first time Messi had left the crowd in awe. It surely wouldn’t be the last either. Though his dream of winning the World Cup is unfulfilled, it doesn’t take anything away from the man who has five Ballon d’Ors to his name.
Coming back to the FC Barcelona-Real Betis battle, Messi’s hat-trick was a sweet reminder of how exceptional a player he is. Also, it is remarkable when the reaction to that excelsior moment is as grand as the moment itself. The night stands out for its immense action followed by an extraordinary reaction. In the sports universe there have been several iconic moments that have been linked in the fans’ minds, e.g., the reaction Ronaldinho, a Barcelona player, got from the Madrid fans at the Bernabeu in November 2005; Johan Cruyff in Brilliant Orange dancing through the 1974 World Cup, Nadia Comaneci's beautiful, perfect-10 scores in the 1976 Olympics. Messi’s performance in Seville against Real Betis certainly finds a place on this list.
Messi’s hat-trick goal was truly gorgeous and deserves a special mention. Following a one-two with midfielder Ivan Rakitic, he landed a perfect lob, and what ensued was a moment legacies are made of. The entire stadium, including opposition supporters, started chanting “Messi…Messi…Messi”, as it indeed was an ‘Oh My Goal’ moment. Winning the hearts of a hostile crowd through your game is every players’ dream. Messi seems to have mastered the art.
Messi’s interstellar 3rd goal was a genius blend of his unrivaled skill and a geometrically perfect calibration. Betis fans, known to be loyal, noisy and extremely hostile to rivals, were in for a treat. Impressing them is hard, so when thousands of them chant a player’s name and clap till their palms sting, it means that the player has had “the” mighty landing. Messi, you truly are great.