Messi Never Dives

February 27, 2012

We live in the time of Lionel Messi. A dribbler, passer, creater and goalscorer nonpareil: all at the age of 24. Yes, the goals are sublime. What makes Leo so special, though, are not the goals.

What makes him so special is an honesty bordering on naiveté. He simply does not have it in him to attempt a deception. He simply has an utterly unique ability to see the ball, his teammates, the field lines and the goalmouth with the focus of a savant — and to regard opponents merely as part of the pitch itself.


Lionel refuses to indulge in the knowing cynicism of "the dive" — what some watchers fear is a disturbing upward trend in the modern game and what is surely practiced with increased cunning from Buenos Aires to Bolton.


(It should be noted that American players have yet to embrace the dive — what our game lacks in continental subtlety is perhaps made up for in our earnest straightforwardness...)


Of all the mazy runs and clever goals Leo has given us in the last few years, his stubborn rejection of the dive may be his best attribute — captured wonderfully in this inspirational video. Enjoy.


—Andrew Bangs