surinenglish

Don't miss Messi

Don't miss Messi
/ REUTERS
  • The English press clearly didn't fully appreciate the unique talent of the Barcelona player until now

Have you ever tried swatting a bluebottle on a hot summer's day, in a room with very high ceilings? That's what it's like trying to catch Lionel Messi. One minute you are on a stool, the next on your knees.

Now he's showcased his mesmeric powers at Wembley Stadium on an autumnal Wednesday evening against a London club, it has been rubber-stamped by the English press who clearly didn't have the full appreciation of just what a unique talent we are in the presence of.

Those who voted Luca Modric FIFA World Player of the year should shave off their hipster beards in shame too. Ok, he was "Best Player" they'll argue. No he wasn't, Lionel Messi was and is.

This is like 1969. That year "Sugar, Sugar" by The Archies was the bestselling single but it was also the final year that The Beatles were together.

Savour these days. As his nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo has taken his sideshow to Serie A, it hits home just how special these moments are. It's like we have The Beatles and Abba in our sporting presence at the same time!

I'm honoured to have commentated on his finest club moments since day one. With most players you identify them and then the ball is passed on. With Messi, it's like a sitting with a magician. You know he's about to perform a trick, you prepare yourself for it and you know that it will end with you lost for words. Only when you slow the sorcery down can you work out how it was done.

A couple of years ago, I went to the Camp Nou as a spectator with the sole intention of just eye-balling Messi. Initially I was disappointed as he just lazed around on the halfway line. I thought he was sulking but soon realised he was skulking. Sixty yards from goal he instigates a move. I swear that by time I had finished my blink he was on the eighteen-yard line, playing an instantaneous one-two and stroking the football into the net.

La Liga misses Cristiano Ronaldo. He is comparable in many ways - like goal-scoring and individualistic brilliance. Ronaldo enjoys the spotlight, drumroll and crescendo whereas Messi jumps out of the shadows to surprise you.

There are special players in the making. N eymar is a world class talent and Kylian Mbappe is set to be one of the best but there will only ever be one Messi.

The joke was that he wouldn't be able to do it on a cold Tuesday night in Stoke. The reality is that he did do it on a nippy Wednesday evening on a ropey pitch in London against a pretty decent Premier League team.

If you get a chance to see Messi with your own eyes and you love the beautiful game, I urge you to do it with great urgency. What would music fans pay to see the Beatles or Abba? Just do it!