He is the best. There is no one like him. He is already an icon. Not yet 25, and the 'Ballon d'Or' and 'FIFA World Player of the Year' trophies are his favourite toys. But under that skin, he's also a mortal, he is also fraught with frailties that define the human nature. Messi is no God, and this season, the Barcelona legend has shaken hands with that reality.
He may be Barca's all-time highest goal-scorer but he couldn't find the net when he had just the 'keeper to beat at the blow of the referee's whistle in the Champions League semi-final against Chelsea. He looked suffocated and out of space when the Blues hounded him as a pack of wolves. Perhaps it was the jolt Messi needed before he could dream of sharing football’s celestial pedestal with the likes of Pele and Maradona.
So is taking penalties the weakest weapon in Messi's repertoire? The disappointment that accompanies the unexpected end to Barcelona's season will have fans pointing fingers at that shortcoming in Messi's game.
The Barca talisman hit the woodwork twice against Chelsea, with one of those misses coming from the penalty spot, which is not something new in Messi’s career. He has missed eight spot-kicks in his club career, including three times alone this season. This is not an impressive rate given the fact that he has stepped up only 34 times to do that duty, clearly showing that he himself is not confident of beating the 'keeper. And in that semi-final, it cost Barca dear as they missed a place in the Champions League final.
The magnitude of disaster that Messi miss led to has made that weakness of the Barca No. 10 come to surface like never before. But while some of the fans may feel that Messi cost them another Champions League crown, they need to remember that he's been the source of their smiles for the past five years. We can also go ahead and say that without Messi, FCB would not have tasted the amount of success they have with him leading the scoring charts. And his 63 goals in all the competitions this season is a testimony to that.
And while he remains a demi-God for his followers around the world, the fans have to digest that, like them, he too can’t be 100 percent all the time. There will be times when he will walk with his head down. But that doesn't mean that he has let his fans down. Rather that's when he wants his fans to support him and understand that he too is human.