Good guy gone bad – Unfair for Messi to get away with headbutt?

Lionel Messi’s a good guy eh?

That seems to be the rhetoric that has been running around the internet, particularly when comparisons are drawn between him and Ronaldo, as to who the better player is. Not quite sure how non-football antics influences that debate, but well, you can’t really dictate yardsticks of a debate that takes place on the internet.

Last night, in a friendly game, Lionel Messi was caught doing something not-so-nice after all. On the 34th minute mark of the friendly match between Barcelona and Roma, Messi had a heated exchange with Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, before appearing to headbutt the French international, grabbing his throat as well after that.

Should this have happened anywhere else, to anyone else, it could have been an easy red card. But the referee handed out a booking to each player, which begged the question as to whether Messi gets preferential treatment from officials. You can’t really objectively prove that, but it goes without saying that Messi’s reputation of being the ‘good guy’ is starting to become a laughing stock.

Leave alone the fact that he’s embroiled in in a tax-evasion scandal, the Barcelona star was also slammed for his recent trip to Gabon. Let’s not focus on purpose of the trip just yet, let’s talk about mise en scene. Messi was attending a launching ceremony, to which he was dressed as though he was going for an evening stroll on La Rambla street. A pair of hipster kicks, denim shorts and a white printed t-shirt. Really Messi?

But last night’s incident was the final straw. Things can get heated up on a football pitch, and provocations happen all the time. But the mark of a true nice guy, would be an individual who carries himself with dignity and doesn’t react negatively to any pressure. All it took was provocation (allegedly), and Messi crumbled, pushing his hands against the throat of a fellow football player, before proceeding to heatbutt him.

Yes, you can argue that players lose their cool at times. And you could also argue that the referee may have not made a mistake. And it could be that his decision was never influenced by Messi’s ‘good-guy’ status. But at the end of the day, Messi was merely booked for it, and most people on social media, have been slamming Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, for provoking him instead. Fair enough, he may have done so. But a ‘good guy’ doesn’t react like a ‘thug’, when it’s understood that at the end of the day, it’s merely a football match.


Other posts by