Sometimes being a great athlete doesn’t just mean being the best in your discipline. Sometimes, being a great athlete also implies marrying the real values of sport, related to respect, sacrifice, companionship and wanting to improve oneself. Lately we have seen the controversy of the players who when losing a final, took off the runner-up medal, thus demonstrating their lack of sportsmanship by not accepting defeat.
But another great virtue is knowing how to win. There are athletes who, when they win, make fun of the rival or the fans, which is a lack of respect for the sport itself. Messi, who is the best footballer in the world, demonstrated this ability to win by paralyzing this celebration in which the Brazilians were mocked after winning the Copa América.
Rodrigo de Paul in the euphoria of having won the title, to Brazil, in his own stadium, urges everyone to a song related to Brazil. You should not kill De Paul for this mistake, anyone can be wrong and more in that ecstatic situation, but if you have to praise Messi since he hears him, for the song.
Unfortunately, the general trend in soccer and other sports is to encourage insane rivalry, so that the media have something to talk about before and after games, beyond the tactics and plays of the game. People have begun to lose interest in the technical details and begin to be more aware if a certain player gets angry with another, if they celebrate goals by shouting or if they celebrate a title by making fun of the rival.
Luckily, there are still athletes like Messi, who extol the values we have discussed. Messi is one of the most influential athletes, so let’s hope that his example will carry over to other athletes.