Dear Lionel Messi,

I am a seasonal football fan. I started following United just like we follow our religion: no one has a choice, we follow what our elders follow.

In my seventh grade, I used to read the newspapers of the ‘Newspaper in Education’ program by Times of India. I started reading news about Ronaldo and being a United fan, I used to watch his videos. By then, Ronaldo had already moved to Real Madrid and I did not take this very well. One day, I started to browse YouTube as I was having few minutes left in my Cyber Cafe 15/- INR ticket time. So, as per the suggestions, I watched yours. And since then my life has changed.

I came to know that you were having Balon d’ Ors those days: ’09 to ’12. I was pretty much into football, not supporting any team though. See, in India, you have to score 90% in your 10th standard in order to get accepted by the society. Motivation was needed. I sometimes wish I had Jio internet back then, you never know, I could be the best admin of the fan pages on Facebook.

I wasn’t accepted by the society and then the journey to get an admission in Indian-Institute-of -technology began. It’s one of the hardest exams to crack, preparation of which deprives you of any social life. As a result, there was not much of a social circle and I was having internet access, permanently. I used to YouTube daily, reading newspaper columns every day. Yet, I was not a regular fan of football. However, I never missed out on your goals that you were scoring consistently every week. I mean cmon man, 91 goals? Barca was all swelled up in the glory and I was rejoicing, every moment of it.

Watching you dribble past so may players, proudly saying that you never dive, proudly showing every other person that this hero of mine, he plays forward and has more assists than anyone, these are my happy moments every day. In India, people of all the religions actually believe in one God(no joking). We all have Cricket as religion(well, some are atheists as well

:p) and we all believe in one God: Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. Now, I am not going to draw any similarities in between you two but one thing is common: “It is not binary: You can be both good as a person and be the best in your work!”

Watching you play season after season, I strive towards being a better person and that is the most important thing.

It really hurts when I see trolls and memes on you being a thief. It really hurts when people question your skills and doubt how you would be when 32 or older. But deep down I know, you will keep enjoying the game and you will break every record.

I am sorry that I wanted Balon d’ Or for you more than Copa America. I am sorry that I care for you winning personal records than Argentina winning the World Cup. But I promise I will pray for what you want. I am not a person of a ‘fan’ personality, wishing for someone who doesn’t even know me, but your case is different.

I wish you enjoy playing football to the fullest and keep playing.

In the end, I do not wish to see your end.

As Mourinho recently said, “One day, Messi will be 34 and we all will be crying.”

Thank you, Messi, happy birthday!

Thank God that Messi exists.



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