How frequently have we seen Lionel Messi wheel away in celebration with two fingers pointing towards the sky? Unquestionably more that we want to count, but why does the Argentine celebrate in such a gesture? It turns out there is an uncommon clarification behind the 30-year-old’s most loved way to goal celebration.
Messi has given us some paramount and memorable goal celebration as a Barcelona player. Prominent illustrations include the way he kissed his boot subsequent to scoring past Edwin Van der Saar in the 2009 Champions League final and the way he exhibited his shirt a baying Bernabeu crowd in last April’s ‘Clásico’. These are two cases that will positively live long in the memory of football fans.
Pointing To The Sky
Nonetheless, it is prominent that after all these celebrations Messi dependably makes a similar motion, looking to the sky and pointing upwards with the two index fingers. The explanation for this gesture is believed to be his maternal grandma, Celia. Celia passed away when Messi was only 10 years of age and she left a colossal impact on the Rosario-born star.
Things being what they are it was Messi’s grandma who took him to a football pitch interestingly for the first time, back when he was only four. Celia ended up arguing with the coach, who would not like to play Messi because of his little stature. In any case, Celia’s resistance paid off, the young Lionel Messi was brought on as a substitute and scored two goals as his team won the match.
Messi spoke of the celebration at a UNICEF convention, as reported by Marca (h/t Goal) in 2010, while Cristina Cubero of Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish) reported Messi’s words on the same celebration the year previous:
I think about her a lot, I would have loved that she was here in the stadium, watching me, enjoying it. She gave us everything, myself and my cousins would fight to sleep in her house, she cared for all of us.
I can’t say something, in particular, it was everything about her, her character, how she treated us, how she loved us.
I dedicate my goals and my triumphs to her, I want her to be here but she left us before she could see me succeed. I would have brought her to Barcelona.
Henceforth why each time the Barcelona man has scored one of his 500+ career goals he has committed and dedicated it to his grandma who was a huge part of his family and fundamental mainstay of his footballing profession.
Call Me, Maybe?
Everyone adores a decent theory in the footballing scene to attempt to influence a remark of nothing—and there was bounty gliding around after Messi annihilated the Celta Vigo defense as of late.
The relentless talisman scored twice, set up two increasingly, and helped Barca to a 5-0 triumph in March, keeping up the pressure on Real Madrid all the while.
After his initial—a colossal solo goal that left a few defenders handling slim air and gave the goalkeeper no way with the shot—Messi celebrated with his colleagues and afterward indicated to the stands, made a “telephone call” signal with his hand to his ear and had something of a genuine and serious look about him.
What did it mean? Who was it aimed for? Furthermore, why did Sergio Ramos soon need to announce he did it first?
The majority of the social media recommendations pronounced it was towards the board, maybe to accelerate contract talks—but soon a short time later it was uncovered to be aimed the way for his nephew instead.
Per Sport, Gerard Romero told the Moguts pel Barca show: “Leo Messi devoted the goal to his nephew who spent the evening calling him. He rang him throughout the evening, which was exceptionally irritating. That was repeated by Messi in the
Lionel Messi will now and again draw out an option of celebration before the sky-pointing starts, denoting an especially uncommon hit or earth-shattering event with its own image.
The Argentinian may be a world-renowned footballer, but at the same time he’s an incredible family man; he now has two children, Thiago, born in 2012, and Mateo, conceived in 2015. The latter’s birth to the world matched with a fixture against Atletico Madrid and, with Messi commonly finding the scoresheet, a recognizable goal celebration in the football world to imply an infant was seen—thumb-sucking.
Per Ed Malyon of the Mirror, Messi hadn’t trained for two weeks before the game and started the match from the bench.
His second-half appearance helped Barca topple a 1-0 shortage to win 2-1 at the Vicente Calderon, with Luis Enrique expressing that “Messi was unequivocal, as he generally is!”
Obviously, that early-season result supported Barcelona’s title mission as they ran out La Liga winners by a solitary point last term, with Messi netting 26 times altogether. In any case, maybe that solitary strike at Atletico, coming when it did, implied only somewhat more to the Barca No. 10.
Messi isn’t always happy at finding the back of the net, however. There are times when, for whatever reason, the professional anger boils too closely to the surface to let any elation shine through—even in what would usually be euphoric moments.
Like a last-minute winner, for example.
As recently as February, Messi was again pivotal in Barca taking three points, scoring twice in a 2-1 win over lowly Leganes, with his second coming from the penalty spot in injury time to keep Barca on Real’s coat-tails and avoid embarrassment against one of La Liga’s smaller sides.
It wasn’t followed by joyous scenes, though, as Messi instead merely returned to the center of the pitch—and the jeers that came before the cheers in the crowd may have had something to do with it.
The Leganes game came directly after the 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League, a defeat that came complete with accusations of Messi not performing well from some sections of the media as well as from Barcelona supporters, perhaps quick to forget all he has accomplished.
AS ran a feature on Messi’s “worst performance in a Barcelona shirt,” ESPN FC suggested similar and highlighted him losing the ball before one of PSG’s goals, rating him four out of 10, and Goal reported former France coach Raymond Domenech’s scathing comments in L’Equipe.
“The image that remains from the first leg is Presnel Kimpembe getting the better of Messi through power,” Domenech is quoted as saying. “Messi does not have the energy he had when he was 20 years old. It is not easy to see that gradually he is losing his gifts. He is more calculated now. He has lost that spontaneity and strength in his dribbling.”
Days later, Messi had won the game for Barca against Leganes, and then-Argentina boss Edgardo Bauza was in no doubt that the No. 10 was fuming over those combined viewpoints on him having lost his edge.
Speaking on Joga Bonito (h/t Goal), Bauza said Messi had “reacted to the criticism” with his non-celebration.
If a match-winner from the penalty spot showed Messi didn’t appreciate some of the words, perhaps his Clasico performance was aimed rather more specifically at those who agreed with Domenech.
Losing his gifts? Perhaps the former France boss was in the crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday, and Messi had to remind him of just who he was talking about.
There are varieties of this specific goal celebration, many now given the trio being referred to share such a significant number of goals between them: 90 in La Liga alone last term and 64 leagues play so far.
Yet, doubtlessly that since the MSN attacking triumvirate has turned into a marvel, images of them celebrating together have turned out to be mind-boggling notable.
The main outstanding image of them celebrating a goal together came at the Camp Nou in 2015, with Barca beating Atletico Madrid. Messi hit the third and the troika kept running off in tandem, celebrating a hard-battled three points, prompting pictures from all points and distances of the above scene.
Barca Magazine (h/t the club’s authentic site) addressed a Reuter’s picture taker who caught the moment may be superior to any other individual, Albert Gea.
While a significant part of the discussion focused on the specialized territories of Gea’s work inside the Camp Nou, more than one part of his work right at that moment mirrors the on-pitch characteristics the forward trident tends to show:
Neymar, after Messi scored, started celebrating and linked arms with Suárez and Messi and ran towards the grandstand, more or less in a direct line to where I was positioned. I started taking rapid fire photos, about nine a second, and then I switched to a wide lens.
I was lucky because I instinctively changed the camera before anyone else did. I moved to a shorter lens and that meant the three players were perfectly framed in the picture. Other photographers got some good pictures too but didn’t catch the scene quite as completely as I could. The key was my lens and my position next to the pitch.
But things will turn out different this season with the shocking world-record transfer PSG pulled off for Neymar after meeting up his buy-out clause, and the arrival of Barca historical signing Ousmane Dembele would see and end to the MSN gang and perhaps a more definitive laughing gang ” LOL”
7 Of The Most Loyal Football Players
When it comes to loyalty and commitment in the beautiful game, there are few football players who are able to pledge their allegiance and refused to be swayed by big offers. For every Ashley Cole, there’s also a Totti.
There are players who when they reach their potentials, will get easily swayed by money and the probable fame that will follow their transition to other clubs. While other players would simply remain at their current club because of the love they have for the club.
The first set of players who leave the club when bigger clubs come calling are always remembered for their exploits while at the club. But, the second type of football player who ignores the temptations of leaving their ‘most loved’ football club sides is regarded as heroes.
Meanwhile, there are some known players who have showcased utmost loyalty for their respective clubs. For instance, Francesco Totti waved off Real Madrid’s offer in 2006, stating AS Roma as his family and he’s never seen a situation where a child would leave his poor parents to go live with rich strangers.
But what about other unpopular loyal players like Francesco Totti, Stephen Gerrard or even Mark Noble?.
Here’s a list of 7 most loyal football players
- David Zibung (Goalkeeper) – FC Luzern (18 Years +)
The life of this Swiss goalkeeper has been all about his boyhood club, FC Luzern. The +37-year old was born in Hergiswil which is in the Nidwalden region in Switzerland.
He joined the youth team of FC Luzern in 1999 and was there till 2003. Zibung grew in leaps and bounds with the Luzern main team, ever since he broke into the first team, he’s never for once considered leaving the club.
Technically, Zibung would’ve spent eighteen years at Luzern by July 2021. But he’s definitely spent more than eighteen years given that he’s been at the club’s feeder team before 2003.
Zibung remains one of the oldest and longest-serving loyal goalkeepers of the Swiss League.
- Hidekazu Otani (Midfielder) – Kashiwa Reysol (18 Years)
Otani is a midfielder of note, who joined his one and only club in 2000 as a teenager. Now 36 years-old, Okami has been deployed in many parts of the midfield but his natural position is the defensive midfield where he plays comfortably well.
The Japanese veteran midfielder has on numerous occasions been offered to leave his club but his love for the Sun King club has held him back so much so that he’s willing to retire at the club when the time comes.
While some quarters may believe that Hidekazu Okani had been at Kashiwa for eighteen years, the fans of the club see him as an integral part of the club’s history given that he’s won laurels with the club severally.
- Igor Akinfeev (Goalkeeper) – CSKA Moscow (18 Years)
Akinfeev is probably the most popular player we’re x-raying in this Exposé. Akinfeev, Russian, is the Russian National Team goalkeeper and captain, as well as his club side, CSKA Moscow.
History has it that the 34-year old shot-stopper has been at CSKA Moscow since the age of four. His father sent him to the Sports School of CSKA where he began his goalkeeping career and won the Russian Junior Championship in 2002 with the CSKA Moscow team.
Akinfeev would make his debut for CSKA Moscow at sixteen, precisely 2001 where he saved a penalty and also had a clean sheet. He has played over five hundred matches for CSKA Moscow, winning six Russian Cup titles, six Russian Premier League titles as well as the 2005 UEFA Cup with the club.
His incredible rise to stardom is down to his personality and ingenuity as a goalkeeper. He’s arguably the best goalkeeper the Russian nation has ever produced and has been on several international tournaments for the country since he joined the national team.
It may sound bizarre but Akinfeev has spent thirty years at the Red-blues. That is a huge commitment mixed with loyalty.
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- Ismed Sofyan (Defender) – Persita Jakarta (18 Years)
Talking about the most loyal player, Sofyan’s loyalty isn’t about his club alone, it’s for his country and his country’s elite league, The Indonesian Super League – Not that he’s an amateur.
Yes, he may have played for a couple of club sides in the Indonesian league, but his love and unwavering support for his country is immeasurable.
Sofyan currently plays for Persita Jakarta, a club he joined in 2002 that has made him become the longest-serving player in the club until now. The 41year-old right full-back is a free-kick specialist. He was only privileged to play for the Indonesian National Team for just 53 times.
- Dean Lewington (Defender) – Milton Keynes Dons FC (18 Years)
As of July 2020, Lewinton is the longest-serving player for a single club in English League having spent sixteen years with The Dons.
The English left-back joined MK Dons after a successful spell with Wimbledon in 2004. Lewington, 32, has made over seven hundred appearances with more than 250 different team-mates.
He’s witnessed two promotions and relegations as the club’s captain for the years he’s been at MK Dons and he’s grateful for the sort of longevity he’s had.
He told daily mail in 2016 ‘It’s not like the Premier League where you get five-year deals. It is one or two years. When we won promotion to the Championship in 2015, I was out of contract on the final day as we were celebrating.’
- Koji Homa (Goalkeeper) – Mito HollyHock (21 Years)
Undoubtedly a popular figure in the Japanese league, the 43-year-old goalkeeper currently plays for the above-named club in the second tier of the Japanese League, J2.
After graduating from high school, he joined the J1 League side Urawa Reds in 1996 but couldn’t play more often before crossing to Mito HollyHock in 1999 and never looked back.
He’s helped Mito HollyHock achieve some amazing feats since he joined in 1999 with the biggest of them being the promotion of the club to J2 in 2000.
In his twenty-one-year sojourn with the club, Koji Homma holds the record for the player with the highest number of matches played in J2.
- Lee Casciaro (Forward) – Lincoln Red Imps (22 Years)
The 38-year-old Gibraltar striker scored the only goal of the game when his Gibraltarian minnows club (Lincoln Red Imps) shocked Celtic and to a larger extent, the rest of Europe in their Champions League qualifier at the Victoria Stadium in 2016,
Cascario, 39, has been at the club since he was eight years old and has spent twenty-three years as a first-team member.
It should be agreed that Lincoln Red Imps was made for Cascario, given that two of his younger brothers have played for the club as well.
With three international goals, Lee Henry Cascario is currently Gibraltar’s all-time goalscorer since the 33,684 populated nation joined UEFA.
- Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao): 11 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Tarantini (Rio Ave): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Stefan Radu (Lazio): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Vincent Manceau (Angers SCO): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Anthony Lopes (Lyon): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Koke (Atletico Madrid): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Roberto Torres (Osasuna): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Gerard Pique (Barcelona): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow): 12 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Mario Gaspar Perez (Villarreal): 12 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Guilherme (Lokomotiv Moscow): 13 years, 1 month, 3 days
- Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur): 13 years, 1 month, 10 days
- Volodymyr Chesnakov (Vorskla Poltava): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Mahmut Tekdemir (Istanbul Basaksehir): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Sergio Busquets (Barcelona): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Anton Shunin (Dynamo Moscow): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Marcelo (Real Madrid): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Sammy Bossut (Zulte Waregem): 14 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid): 15 years, 4 days
- Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Francesco Magnanelli (Sassuolo): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Jessy Moulin (Saint-Etienne): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Oier (Osasuna): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Sergio Alvarez (Celta de Vigo): 16 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Mark Noble (West Ham United): 16 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Lionel Messi: (Barcelona): 16 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Denis Sinyayev(FC Avangard Kursk)18 years
- Ismaeil Matar (Al-Wahda): 19 years
- Petr Literak(Frýdek-Místek): 22 years
Erling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking Rise
Erling Haaland was always going to become the ultimate striker and probably the best number 9 on the planet. Also, there’s every possibility that one day, he may become a Ballon D’or winner. But, there’s still one mystery, how did he become the cyborg that he is today?
Haaland continues to be a goal machine, becoming the quickest player in history to reach 20 Champions League goals. His goal from the spot in the UCL round-16 second leg tie against Sevilla was his 20th goal in just 14 appearances in the competition, which broke Harry Kane’s previous record of 24 games.
“Of course he’s fast, powerful, good around the goal and he’s got real soccer sense. But it’s more of his energy, it’s his infectious personality that I think is like a magnet; it draws people to him, it makes people want to be around him.” Those are the words of Red Bull Salzburg manager, Jesse Marsch.
Grab a handful of popcorn and sit back as we unfold the story behind the rise of this Norwegian beast, goal machine, and keeper’s nightmare, Erling Braut Haaland.
Haaland’s Salzburg Breakthrough
As at when Jesse Marsch was appointed as Salzburg manager, Haaland had been at the club for about six months and had only played one game. And then he went to the U-20 World Cup where he scored nine goals in one game.
From his Salzburg debut, Haaland, who had already impressed at the Norwegian league with Bryne and Molde left observers with no doubt about the quality he possesses.
He would become one of the best strikers on the planet because the talent in him was very obvious. In a chat with oh-my-goal, Jesse Marsch revealed that Haaland’s personality was the first thing he fell in love with about Haaland.
“The first couple of days I worked with him, what impressed me more than anything else was his personality on the pitch. He was just relentless! He worked harder than anyone.”
But beyond his raw talent in Salzburg, Erling Haaland left his mark on the locker room with his personality. He had a smile on his face and got along incredibly well with his teammates. Therefore, it wasn’t just his talent, it was his overall energy.
Erling in person had a really positive influence on his teammates. Erling the player, was a selfish assassin who scored 29 goals in 27 appearances for the Austrian club.
Meanwhile, he also always talked about making his teammates happy. “The best memory I Had of him was when we were getting penalties in just about every game, and he was giving them to all the other attacking players.“
“And then, after a player missed a penalty, I said Ok, Erling has to take the penalties and I told him he would be taking the penalties”
“It’s incredible to have such a talented player who loves to score goals, be the one that is giving the penalty responsibilities to the others because he wants them to feel the power of success, the power of scoring goals, and the power of confidence. That says a lot to me about the character of Erling.” Marsch revealed.
At 19, when most people think about personal glory, Haaland was already a perfect teammate and a future leader which was unprecedented for a player as good as he was and in his age range.
Without a doubt, Haaland’s personality was great enthusiastic and it did really have a big effect on a lot of people at Salzburg.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Influence
Erling Haaland may owe his incredible rise to his immense talent and his positive leadership qualities. But that’s not all, Cristiano Ronaldo also played a huge role in Haaland’s evolution.
People often say that Erling Haaland is the next Cristiano Ronaldo but is the CR7 comparison justified?
Certainly, Erling is more of a pure striker than Cristiano but from a power football perspective, his ability in the transition to affect games like the Portuguese ace makes the comparison justifiable.
Haaland himself admitted that Cristiano Ronaldo was his role model but if like Cristiano, Erling broke all the goalscoring records, it’s not really the part of football that CR7 has influenced.
Haaland is following in Cristiano Ronaldo’s footsteps in terms of leadership and he even is now a role model to many players just like Ronaldo was to him.
Cristiano Ronaldo has had positive effects on his teammates and in every team, he’s played in which really helped him overtime right from his days at Manchester United and Real Madrid. But for Erling, one could really see that right from his young age that it’s a natural quality he has.
It will be up to Haaland to continue to modify that aspect of himself and mold that in a way that he can become a really strong leader within his teams as he continues to grow older.
Above all, Haaland took inspiration from Cristiano Ronaldo in one essential area, work ethic. Like CR7, he’s always hungry to improve. “He really worked hard a lot. After training, he would stick around to finish, to hit some crosses, to work on his heading.” – Jesse Marsch, RB Salzburg Coach.
Like CR7, Erling Haaland thinks every little detail counts. He would wear special glasses because he felt like when you look at your computer all day long or your cell phone, that your eyes would start to fade and so he had that special glasses he always wears.
And while he has his own personality, Erling is directly inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo especially when it comes to nutrition and work ethic by picking the most hardworking professional football player in history as his role model.
Perfect With BVB
Borussia Dortmund activated his €20 million (£17m/$22m) release clause, beating United and Leipzig to his signature after all three clubs held meetings with the player, his father, and agent Mino Raiola.
Borussia Dortmund already had forward Paco Alcacer on the books, but saw Haaland as such a generational talent, that they were willing to offload the Spain international to give the Norwegian teen an even better chance of success.
CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke says that they had been looking for someone with Haaland’s particular skill set for a long time and could not pass up the opportunity to sign him.
“We always wanted to have a center-forward who has a different way of playing football,” Watzke told Goal and DAZN. “But this guy also had to come onto the market first.
There are not many who are 1.94 meters (6 ft 4 in) tall and that fast. Actually, nobody else comes to mind. It was just an opportunity that you don’t get very often. – Goal.com
Dortmund offered the striker the best chance of regular game time as they promised to make him their first-choice striker, something Alf-Inge Haaland admits is crucial to his development.
Haaland’s Dortmund story got off to the perfect start with the most incredible debut against Augsburg. Trailing 3-1, Lucien Favre sent on the teenager from the bench and was rewarded with a 22-minute hat-trick to help secure a 5-3 win.
Having revealed all the secrets that make Haaland an outstanding striker, in all honesty, the Norwegian striker has no limit because he keeps getting better at Dortmund.
He was incredible at Salzburg. “We were obviously so sad to lose him so quickly because we had a lot of fun and success with him, but we’re also very proud of him and we’re really excited to see him continue to push himself and move forward and show everybody in the world how good he is.”
And today, he’s showing just how good he is in Germany. He used to only be seen as a superpowered and superfast goalscorer. But at Dortmund? He’s also shown his technical advances and his in-game intelligence and influence.
He’s more and more capable of keeping the ball, playing in different positions, taking part in the game, in short, he’s become the ultimate striker.
Giving his unique skill-set and amazing personality, he will definitely sign for a bigger club in years to come. Yes, he may experience some difficulties, but his quality will help him manage whatever challenge that comes his way and in-turn become the best number 9 of not only his generation but in football history.