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Satire: Why Lionel Messi should come to ISL

Satire: Why Lionel Messi should come to ISL

The Bridge Desk

Published: 26 Aug 2020 5:12 AM GMT

Disclaimer: While we would all like to believe otherwise, there isn’t the slightest possibility that Lionel Messi would come to India and play in the Indian Super League (ISL). This is a piece of satire and should be taken lightly, but in case you don’t, hold Josep Bartomeu responsible.

“This legend of world football is ready to come to ISL. He has won it all for his club, not so much for his country, has scored goals aplenty. If you still can’t guess, here’s the telling clue, he is a multi-time Ballon d’Or winner,” tweeted India’s most popular football journalist, the country’s very own answer to Fabrizio Romano and the likes, Marcus Mergulhao.

And immediately, hell broke loose. Tuesday night’s revelation that Argentine great Lionel Messi has asked to leave Barcelona after nearly two decades of service, in fact, made it easier to join the dots this time. Usually, Marcus’ tweets are more cryptic, and it takes ages to guess correctly, but not this time.


The only question that remains, though, something that Marcus didn’t reveal, is which club is signing Messi? Is it FC Goa or Bengaluru FC? ATK Mohun Bagan or Mumbai City FC? And if we are at it, then why leave out Hyderabad FC who potentially have the biggest chip on their shoulders to coach Barcelona into directing Messi to Hyderabad. After all, newly-appointed Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman wants to pry away Hyderabad’s chief coach Albert Roca. It could make for the perfect barter deal, if Hyderabad can play it right.


Well, truth be told, every big Indian football club (only clubs that are going after Sandesh Jhingan this summer can be considered as a ‘big’ club, so please don’t bring East Bengal or Kerala Blasters into this equation) can use something or the other to tempt Messi to sign for them.

Goa will sell their Spanish tiki-taka philosophy and a luxurious lifestyle on the beautiful beaches, ATKMB will try and sell their bought legacy. Bengaluru will go with professionalism, and also, give the unique chance of playing alongside legend Sunil Chhetri, who in case you forgot, has more international goals than Messi. In fact, if things go according to plan, Chhetri can also teach Messi how to perform for the national team. Mumbai can say that they will have Pep Guardiola over to coach the team in a couple of years anyway, and Messi can reunite with his former coach once that happens. Others will have some trick or the other up their sleeves.

Really, there are no cons of coming to India. You play for 5 months and chill for the next 7. You play 18 league matches, plus, of course if you are Messi, you will play a semifinal and a final, so that’s 20 games. In 20 games, you score 60 goals, finish as the highest scorer across all leagues in the world and go home with your seventh Ballon d’Or. Could it be any easier?

And Messi knows what it’s like to play here also. He dazzled and razzled, while giving only about 30% effort, in front a packed crowd at the Salt Lake stadium against Venezuela a few summers back. He must be back to do it all over again.

For a change, it might be better to shoulder off against Sandesh Jhingan instead of Sergio Ramos, or to nutmeg Adil Khan instead of Jerome Boateng, wouldn’t it?

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