By Geneive D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | March 21, 2019
Geneive D’Souza, a die-hard Barcelona fan and an ardent Lionel Messi follower, chances upon a video where her idol is being ridiculed on the field during a Champions League Match (2017) between Barca and Sporting CP. The Portuguese fans chant ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’ to taunt him after a Messi fan rushes onto the field to greet his idol.
Upset, angry, disturbed, she goes into the boots of Messi in that moment of time, to create her own match situation.
A huge roar goes throughout the stadium. Looking up from the ground, they all seem like giants to me. But now, I feel like a giant; boiling with rage and frustration. It is definitely not my ‘Sunday’ as they call it (even though the match was played on a Sunday), and I have to make it my game, our team’s game. The whole stadium is chanting his name just to mock me. Anger is boiling within me. I cannot show it. I cannot get angry. I cannot let my team down.
A hand firmly grips my shoulder. It is Luis (Suarez). And his words make me shrug off my aggression and put it in my play. He is confident and believes in me. I look up to the section of Barca fans, holding up my jersey and cheering us on. They believe in me. I look towards the VIP Box and see Thiago and Mateo—my sons. Both give me a thumbs-up. They believe in me.
I strain my ears to catch the commentator’s words: “Is Leo going to show the world the Lion he is? I think so. He won’t let the sheep hound him.”
The whole world believes in me too. I look at my opponent marking me. He takes two steps back when I get the ball at my feet. He too, in a way, believes in me. And Luis’ words echoes back in my mind as he shoots me a look. “Show them what you can do.”
And the next thing I know, I have nutmegged and dodged two defenders and overtaken the other two. Now the goalkeeper; his eyes never leave the ball at my feet. I look left and see Ivan (Rakitic) raising his hands and calling. Without another thought, I chip the ball to him and run right. He looks confused for a moment and attempts to pass it back to me, but I signal him to shoot. It’s too late. The defender already kicks it onto their side, and is running like a cheetah towards our goal.
This can’t be happening. I can’t let this happen. We can’t let this happen.
The 10 of us make a dash for it. Luis kicks the ball away from him and I make a run down the sideline. He chips it over. Two defenders have come to mark me now. I look at them. Their gaze, however, doesn’t waver. So the only thing left for me is to ‘fake’. One of them puts their foot out and trips me over, but I cannot waste time for a foul now. I get up and continue running. The crowd starts whistling and booing, and beads of perspiration fall off my nose. There’s a defender coming at me from my right. I take the ball on my left, look at the goal, then shoot.
The whole stadium is silent. I watch breathlessly as the ball, as if in slow motion, slowly rolls towards the goal. The goalkeeper runs to the ball to stop it.
And then, it crosses the goal line. For a few seconds there is silence.
And then, the whole stadium erupts like a boiling volcano into a huge roar, a victorious roar. I stand rooted to the spot as my teammates pile upon me. The commentator screams, “Oh my goodness. We have just witnessed a spectacular goal, by none other, than Leo Messi.”
I look up to the VIP box and see my smiling and excited sons, and return their thumbs-up.
The only name the whole stadium is chanting now is: Messi. Messi. Messi. Messi.
Ronaldo is forgotten!
(Geneive D’Souza is a Grade IX student from Don Bosco International School (DBIS) she is passionate about writing, music, playing the piano and La Liga (FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi).