EL DEPORTE DE MESSI

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Ernesto Valverde, entrenador del FC Barcelona, ya demostró en Athletic Club que es un especialista en fabricar presiones. Sabe hacerlo a diferentes alturas, con diversos jugadores y ante rivales de lo más variados. Su tarea al llegar a la institución podía resultar antipática por no tratarse de un director técnico que abrace la posesión como pregona la escuela blaugrana. Pero Barcelona necesitaba un cambio y ahí está Valverde, dispuesto, capacitado. Lo demuestra ahora, cuando sus dirigidos comienzan a presionar mejor sobre el Real Madrid de Zinedine Zidane.

De repente, el primer cross al mentón de los blancos. Sergio Busquets hace un rodeo que parece inofensivo pero que luego será alabado por una secta de analíticos que siempre elogiaron al volante central cuando los flashes eran para los más habilidosos. Busquets cedió a Rakitic, que desde la llegada de Paulinho juega más liberado. El brasileño es polifuncional: su porte físico ejemplar le permite ser duro de superar. Por eso Barcelona ya no sufre tanto en el costado que defiende Sergi Roberto. Por eso ahora Rakitic recibe en vertical a Busquets y enfila hacia el arco de Keylor Navas.

Pero hay algo más detrás de aquel trote del rubio croata. Su compatriota, Mateo Kovacic, fue elegido por Zidane para ocupar un lugar en el mediocampo titular. No son tiempos fáciles para el juego colectivo de los madrileños, tal es así que el entrenador francés opta por Kovacic y relega al exquisito Isco. Todo tiene una explicación. En clásicos anteriores, Zidane eligió un once sin pensar demasiado en el rival. La apuesta no le sirvió, ya que Barcelona consiguió triunfar en el Bernabéu a pesar de encontrarse lejos de su mejor versión. La clave se llamó Lionel Messi.

En entrevista con el portal español Ecosdelbalon, Xabi Alonso contó que al Real Madrid de José Mourinho le quitaba el sueño detener a Messi. El argentino los lastimaba una y otra vez. La nueva estrategia, según Xabi, estuvo en que el diez no sea marcado por los defensores. No podía recibir de frente a ellos. Quienes debían encargarse de él eran los mediocampistas. Líneas juntas para dar pocos espacios y en caso de ser batido el primer soldado, tener al segundo ya listo para salir al cruce. Aquello no garantizaba nada pero al menos le dificultaba más las cosas al astro argentino.

Por eso ahora ya no sorprende que un mediocampista como Kovacic esté pegado a Messi desde que inició el segundo tiempo. El croata tiene buen pie y puede realizar conducciones que rompan líneas, pero ahora su misión es seguirle el rastro al N°10 rival. No perderlo de vista jamás.

Rakitic avanza con pelota dominada y el rival más cercano es Kovacic. En un movimiento poco común, éste no sale al cruce del rival. Lo deja avanzar. Opta seguir su carrera junto a Messi. Porque esa es su misión en el mediodía de Madrid. Porque si algo le ha quedado claro a Zidane es que quién más posibilidades tiene de dañarlos es el argentino. Entonces el rubio volante del Barcelona puede enfilar con comodidad hasta la medialuna del área, donde abre a Sergi Roberto -que llegó hasta allí con la tranquilidad de estar cubierto por Paulinho- y asistirá a Luis Suárez para que el uruguayo abra el marcador.

Messi no motivó la creación de la marca escalonada, pero desde su debut en el fútbol profesional aquél término comenzó a utilizarse con mayor frecuencia. Porque Messi lo cambió todo. Más que fútbol, es el deporte de Messi y quien quiera competir deberá hacerlo siempre sin pasar por alto la planificación sobre cómo contrarrestarlo. En su propia cancha, y sabiéndose bicampeón de Europa, el mismísimo Real Madrid sintió que no tendría posibilidades si descuidaba a Messi. Barcelona igual ganó. Porque el fútbol sigue siendo un deporte de 11 contra 11 aunque el genio lo haya condicionado. Aún así, no conforme con eso, encontró los espacios para fabricar la jugada que derivó en el segundo gol, y sobre el cierre, cuando algunos aficionados merengues habían dejado su asiento, desparramó a Marcelo y asistió a Aleix Vidal para el tercer tanto. Su influencia en el resultado no podía reducirse a aquella atracción de marcas en el primer gol.

A pesar del duro golpe y las críticas, Zidane reconció que no se arrepiente de las decisiones que tomó. Difícilmente lo haga Kovacic. Ambos saben que por más capaces que sean, el fútbol sigue siendo ese deporte dominado por Lionel Messi.

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1994. Si no rueda una pelota me siento incompleto. Cuando sea grande diré que vi jugar a Messi. Disfruto de leer y escribir.

74 comentarios

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