You came here and yet it feels like you never did

Maswood Alam Khan | Published: July 01, 2018 21:40:54 | Updated: July 02, 2018 21:24:28


Lionel Messi, left, and Cristiano Ronaldo, right, are almost certainly finished with the World Cup for their stellar careers. —Photo: Reuters

When people are frustrated with their stars they need ways to vent their annoyances. Some numb themselves and avoid the topic. That is not a healthy way. You must take a hard look at it anyway and try to channel your frustration in a decent manner. If you stuff your pains inside they explode eventually and you get sick. A healthy way to vent can help relieve your anxieties, a way you must choose that frees up your pent-up emotions.

One of the best ways to vent your pain is to create something beautifully. Take a pencil and make a sketch if you have a knack for art or listen to a song of your choice.

It is sheer disgraceful and disgusting to watch those nasty ways some football fans are making caricatures of Ronaldo's and Messi's departure from the World Cup. Some are even disrespecting the national flags of Argentina and Portugal! Such defaming of a sportsman or a nation is not only sickening it is a crime legally punishable.

Making a cartoon of famous people, however, is a healthy way to vent frustration. Sometimes, even the famous man himself whose characteristics are exaggerated in a comic or a cartoon rather enjoys looking at the distortion of his own image. Such was an image I got in my messenger inbox from a friend where 'Ronaldo's friend suggests him to say Hi to Messi and Messi answers 'Ronaldo' when asked what he was waiting for at the departure lounge of an airport.' There was no mention in the comic picture of the artist's name who doctored the drawing. The cartoonist deserves THANKS to offer such a nice medium for frustrated fans to ventilate their frustrations, sadness, and anger at their stars: "Ronaldo" and "Messi".

Football's two towering stars for the last decade, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Lionel Messi of Argentina were both ousted from the World Cup on Saturday, leaving fans weeping in frustration and out of empathy for these two giants who in previous matches of this World Cup mesmerised them by their wizardry. First Messi exits and hours later Ronaldo as their teams were defeated by newer and younger players of the opposite teams.

Argentina were cruelly outfoxed 4-3 by the French.

France deserve the win for their skill, speed and new shamanism shown by their vibrant attackers. France throughout the game responded attacks with poise and character.

But Argentina can no longer claim themselves as home to the world's best and most weathered defenders.

M Kylian Mbappé Lottin, the 19-year-old French giant, perhaps the youngest in this World Cup, was a spine-chilling threat to Argentina. The world watched in awe how this French lad with his sprinting steps found the top gear to move forward and crash his opponents.

The saddest suicidal moment for Argentina on Saturday night was when Marcos Rojo, the defender who had put Argentina into the knockout round with a late goal against Nigeria, made a clear push on Mbappé from behind in the Argentine penalty area. Iranian referee Alireza Faghani did not hesitate a millisecond to award the penalty in favour of France. That gave France a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute and marked the start of an Argentine landslide.

However, Argentine fans roared in relief when Ángel Di María, the Argentine forward, made two beautiful touches before letting loose with a left-footed strike that curled away from Hugo Lloris, the French goalkeeper and nestled into the upper right corner to make it 1-1. It was a dazzling goal Argentines will never forget.

Messi also had a chance in the 80th minute when he fired a right-footed shot deep in French territory, but his strike lacked the necessary angle or speed.

The rest time of the game was a fable where we watched an incredible seesaw game of football that forced our heartbeats to take longer time to breathe in and breathe out. Panic reigned over the stadium and a pall of depression hung over Argentinian fans all over the world, as if Titanic was sinking, with Argentina being devastated by France with a 4-3 cruelty.

In another match after about three hours, Ronaldo and his Portuguese teammates were crashed, 2-1, by Edinson Cavani, who scored twice, and by a resolute Uruguayan defence.

It was the night of fall of two stars who couldn't win World Cup in their lifetime and perhaps will never. They are not however alone. Many a great player has never won the World Cup.

It would be foolishness to blame Messi or Ronaldo for their countries' defeats. Each of these two gifted players showed his brilliance on many an occasion. That they didn't make it last night was not a surprise in a game like football, a game which can be compared to a philharmonic orchestra where every single player must play his own role impeccably.

Personally, I couldn't believe I was watching two live football games on Saturday night. Ronaldo or Messi, as we knew them, it seemed, were not there. They were there and yet it felt like they were not there playing their normal football.

When I myself feel frustrated I usually transport my mind away from pains by listening to a song. After the Saturday night Football drama, the most appropriate song I found in my music library to play was a Tagore song in the reedy and lugubrious voice of Debabrata Biswas: “এসেছিলে তবু আসো নাই, জানায়ে গেলে” (You came here and yet it feels like you never did).

maswood@hotmail.com

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