We live in an era where everything seems to be getting bigger; cars, aircraft, wine glasses, coffee cups, even people. Rugby players in the world seem to be huge mountains of muscle, footballers too have grown taller, stronger, faster, fitter. But I was beginning to wonder if the beautiful game had perhaps lost something. That is until this weekend.
I have been fortunate enough to have seen some of the all time footballing greats either live or on video. Di Stephano, Puskas (172 cms), Pele (173 cms), Johan Cruyff (178 cms), Maradona (165 cms) the best of them seem to peak at around 5 ft 10 inches but to be fair Zinedine Zedane (185 cms) and Ronhaldinho (181cms) are exceptions. Nevertheless Lionel Messi’s goal in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday was a thing of mesmerising genius. One of the smallest players on the park, 170cms, Messi darted through the defence leaving defenders sprawling in his wake with the ball seemingly glued to his boots before unleashing an unstoppable shot. Small can be beautiful, and if you think Messi’s goal was a fluke take a look at the fifth goal here.
These wee wonders have lit up football for as long as I can remember. Even in Scotland we have had our share of tiny terrors. Jinky Johnstone, Willie Henderson, Archie Gemmil, wee guys with a touch of genius in their feet and we miss them.
Have a look on You Tube there are loads more, celebrate the small.