?Genius – true genius – is a fleeting thing. It comes to most people once or twice in a lifetime, usually in the kind of mundane setting that means it’s not even noticed.
There’s a much smaller category of incredibly gifted people, those who can work towards genius and feel it at the tips of their fingers as they grasp for it, breaking their bodies and putting their lives on hold for a dozen years just to brush at the edges of genius a couple of times a year. That’s your high-level creatives, your designers, your world class professional sportspeople.
Then you have Lionel Messi, who is unfair.
?? Leo Messi has scored 7 goals direct from free-kicks in all competitions this season! ??????????????#UCL pic.twitter.com/fqNwHvXSVO
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 3, 2019
That’s right! I suckered you in with an abstract point about the idea of genius and it’s actually a column about how Lionel Messi’s good at football! And I’ve suckered you again, because it’s not really about that either!
But Messi. He scored his sixth (sixth!) direct free kick of the league season against Villarreal on Tuesday night to start the latest of late fightbacks in a 4-4 draw – a scorcher to the keeper’s side, hit so hard that Sergio Asenjo’s fingertips couldn’t keep it out and so precisely that it ricocheted off the post into the inside of the side netting in the opposite side of the goal.
It’d make it into a Goal of the Season montage in any league in the world. It might not be one of Messi’s best ten goals this season, which might be why I ended up spending the 20 minutes after the goal went in arguing with two 90min editors who shall remain nameless about…Messi.
“Lionel Messi has done a good goal,” I said.