Again, all eyes pending on Messi. And again, when the team seemed calm after the national team break, in the middle of the storm and in a game in which Barça played half the league at Wanda. There, in the Metropolitan, Messi signed his last exhibition with the Barça shirt away from the Camp Nou. It was December 1, 2019 on a really special day. After playing a great game in which he was gigantic in the second half, the Argentine won it on the hour with a magical conduction that crowned, after relying on a great touch from Suárez, with a millimeter, precise shot, unattainable for Oblak. Messi celebrated it in a big way, hitting the shield over and over again. A symbolic goal, because only a day later he was going to receive the Ballon d’Or in Paris, which made him the best player in the world for the sixth time.
But that night not only was the image of Messi. Also that of Simeone, who was taken by the demons because no one had been able to stop the transition of Barça. Cholo had no choice but to applaud his compatriot’s play. A detail of a good sportsman and gentleman who also closed that strange episode of the leaked audio without Simeone’s permission that ran like wildfire in the World Cup in Russia in which Cholo partly questioned the importance of Messi in the national team. “(…) We have to realize that Messi is very good, but it is clear that he is very good because he is accompanied by extraordinary players. So the question I ask is: if you had to choose between Messi and Ronaldo, for a normal team, who would you pick? “
That 0-1 Messi was the last decisive Messi away from home at Barça. Since then, the crack has had a sporadic good night at the Camp Nou (Naples in the Champions League, for example), but he has not scored a decisive goal in any game away from Barcelona. And that has been almost a year. Too long for a player used to making a difference. However, Messi arrives in Madrid on fire. From the negative, for the statements of Griezmann’s former agent, for the zeal that the Treasury has shown in him; but on the positive side, due to the excellent footballing level he showed in Peru. It had been a long time since Messi had been so comfortable with Argentina. Participative, with continuity and with the only downside of the goal. He may have spent a year doing nothing away from the Camp Nou, but anything can always come out of Messi’s hat, Simeone knows this well.