When Messi picked up the ball in the 86th minute on Sunday, what would follow for Diego Simeone’s team became inevitable
“It smelt of danger,” Diego Simeone said. Late on Sunday night, all drenched in black, Atlético Madrid’s manager could see it coming and so could everyone else, a ball collected 50 yards out that felt like an open goal. Chests tightened: there was a long way to go, a lot of defenders in front of him – five six, seven of them – a passage so tight and a target so small it was hard enough to see, let alone hit, but it already felt like Lionel Messi had escaped. They had, after all, seen this so many times before: the same moment, the same movement, the same outcome, simultaneously happening in slow motion and stuck on fast-forward, which defines him somehow. It was all so very Messi.
Written by Sid Lowe
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2019/dec/02/once-again-atletico-madrid-get-on-the-wrong-side-of-lionel-messis-genius under the title “
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