Era il giorno ch’al sol si scoloraro
per la pietà del suo factore i rai,
quando i’ fui preso, et non me ne guardai,
ché i be’ vostr’occhi, donna, mi legaro
A look, a wordless gesture, a walk in the park hand in glove with birdsong, promise and tranquility; an act of devotion, selfless sacrifice, unflinching trust in moments of greatest vulnerability, companionship, self-fulfilment; romance, slavering desire to possess the other, to place them on the burning pyre of your own lust, to annihilate them, strip down to your undies and shoot them with an arrow, make their heart your own in a bloody act of cannibalism - the love scale has space a-plenty for every noddy to carve his notch. Just where you would choose to start cutting for a declaration like don Julio Grondona’s latest ode to Messi (brought to our attention by @ArgentinaFW), however, pegamequemegusta will leave up to you, dear cherub, dear reader.
This month’s AFA Revista is dedicated to the still unravish’d bride of quietness’s latest Ballon d’or triumph and, in particular, the reaction of the world’s media. It’s not a bad little magazine; in any case it’s deliciously produced, very glossy altogether as well as being bilingual. Here, however, we bring you our own rendition of the AFA’s eternal president’s editorial.
It is a declaration of love for the wee man from Rosario, touchingly bashful at times (“i’d be uncomfortable overstepping the mark…”) while at others it veritably flushes with ardent reverence. It betrays a burning need for consummation, which comes through in metaphysical statements that suggest don Julio has been digging into his John Donne: “He plays as he is therefore he is as he plays.” Such demands could ultimately prove awkward for the object of his affections, we feel. And how surprising they are. By all accounts Mrs Grondona is a thoroughly respectable woman, a loyal companion and a fervent Catholic to boot. Yet we never suspected her husband was a man of such romantic intensity, such simmering passion, a man not content to smell the flower but one who must possess it, ravish it, pound into a paste and use it to flavour a thick, steaming bowl of lovesoup to be snarfled down grunting and spoonless: “Messi is Ours.”
I almost never speak about players’ performances. I may have commented on one or two particular showings from the national team as a whole, but never have I commented on the players as individuals. It’s not my place to do so and i’d be uncomfortable overstepping the mark set by my obligations and responsibilities. However, in Messi’s case it’s different. Not just because he has just won the Ballon d’or awarded by FIFA for the third consecutive time – unquestionably the most sought after prize by all élite players – but because of everything he represents.
On the pitch Messi is just as he is in real life: generous to others, modest with regard to himself and he can always be relied on by those around him. He plays how he is therefore he is as he plays. Moreover, he’s always thinking of the Selección Argentina, of which he is captain. Every time he receives an award like this, in the few words he speaks he always mentions Barcelona, his country and his national team. What’s more, he expresses his hope to reach the highest achievements with the celeste y blanco.
In this issue of the AFA magazine, you will see how the world’s media covered Messi after winning, once again, FIFA’s Ballon d’or. And the truth is I feel a wholesome pride in having been around to witness his coming of age as a football player, in having acted on time to make sure he wore our dear national jersey, and in being by his side as well as with his teammates, the management team and those in charge of Argentine football as we look to all pull together to make their dream – and Messi’s – come true.
From Argentina I send congratulations and our best wishes.