Here are three sentences whose words do not do justice to their majesty: in the depths of a molecular cloud, a star is born. Neil Armstrong went to the moon. Lionel Messi clinched Pau Lopez in Sunday's 4-1 win at Real Betis.
All three sentences represent events that are notable at the intergalactic level. They all mark moments when foreigners sat peacefully in their suburban homes, looking up at their Sunday paper and saying, "Things have changed."
Although I do not have a telescope of sufficient strength, I feel like you claim that the football gods, when Messi scored his third goal against Real Betis yesterday, saw both of them fall off their chairs. The same football gods will forever annoy this friend, who emerged briefly with the victory in the 85th minute and missed seeing it in real time.
Messi is interstellar. The chip against Betis, one of three goals he scored on Sunday, has already reached the limits of our known universe and is feverishly shared in WhatsApp groups by various crewmembers as their ships travel at warp speed. Somewhere out there, on distant windswept worlds whose inhabitants have settled down to see their favorite soap operas, has just begun a small program about Messi's chip. "I'm sorry," says the station, whose voice is suddenly so small and unusually hesitant. "In an interruption of planned programming …"
Messi has chipped Pau Lopez and we have to talk about what that means.
At first, the chip itself does not belong to professional football. Professional football is a fast, racing sport. It's war and thunder, storm and rage. It's anger and hurricane. A chip is none of this. A chip is a ball floating through the sky with the same gentleness as a couple taking a midsummer walk along the waterfront. A chip does not belong to professional football, and that's why Messi has put him there.
Messi defeated Pau Lopez because this is the last thing the goalkeeper had expected. Lopez, whom Messi had beaten twice before in this match, probably expected the striker to hit a shot in both corners of the net when he arrived in the area to hit the ball. We know that because Lopez, as we carefully examine the crime scene footage, moves off his line and perhaps kneels.
Lopez, a diligent professional, puts his weight and momentum on tiptoe. and maybe ̵
That is, we must not regret Pau Lopez. He is a well-paid professional who is probably well-paid for the services he provides to Real Betis. But it is easy to feel a weak sympathy element for him. Messi's magical hat-trick, including a lofty third goal, brought Betis fans to their feet in Ovation, though he had devastated their team. Quality Sports / Getty Images
When a goalkeeper watches a chip hovering over his head, he does so with a sense of hopelessness. At that moment, as Messi collected this passport and floated that chip, Lopez knew he was going inside. He was an unfortunate witness to his own great end.
When Messi did that to him, of course he did a few footballers that. If most other soccer players try that shot, the goalkeeper simply catches him; Either that or the ball drifts harmlessly across the bar. But Messi is obviously not like most of his peers. The chip requires mastery of three specific techniques – spin, precision and disguise – and Messi summoned them all together.
If you see that goal again, which of course you should, you'll see that Messi had dropped his head at the moment of the impact, not knowing what he would do next. He had cleared the ball for the flight, an air traffic controller plotting his way through the sky. He then applied the spin – my god, the spin! – cutting the foot under the ball at such a speed that the movement would have had to cut the surrounding grass. And of course, the ball rose and fell with the glorious inevitability of our slowly dying sun.
Throughout the universe, all sentient creatures knew what they had seen. The Supervillain Thanos, who is now in his garden on the edge of creation, threw up a sad look and whined, "Fear him … … avoid him … Messi is still coming." The native crowd in Betis, though she disagreed with Messi, made a gesture of the most moving beauty: she rose to applaud and sang his name. It is never easy to do when it comes to your beloved team on the receiving end, but they had to acknowledge the majesty they had seen with their own eyes.
They did it because Messi transcended.
"Transcend" – a verb defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as "exceeding or going beyond the bounds of". During this passage Messi passed the football.
He was really a testimonial.
Of course, Messi is absolutely human: Just ask the tax consultant. In the field, however, he is often supernatural and against Betis he was even more. The Merriam-Webster dictionary provides a helpful definition for "transcending" – before, beyond, and beyond (the universe or material existence) – and we can think yes, yes, that's it . Messi's goal against Betis was far beyond the universe: it was interstellar.
Against Betis, Messi not only beat Lopez; he did not just walk on the moon. When he stood there and we all admired the elegant bow of the ball, the creators of our night sky commissioned a new star to celebrate.