A long write up from ESPN on Messi. It’s more about his background and life and how he is viewed in his home country then his soccer ability. I don’t think it’s odd that he isn’t embraced in Argentina, since he is really a product of Barcelona and unless he leads Argentina to a World Cup victory, he isn’t going to be a national hero. Though he is probably one of the best I’ve seen, if not the best in my 20-odd years of following soccer.
Top flight European football is just about to become a lot less accessible in US. There is a considerable debate of why soccer isn’t very popular in the States and I think a huge part of the reason is lack of access to see the best in the world. People don’t want to watch 3rd tier players and that’s why MLS gets ratings comparable to AA baseball. To get people to become fans, you have to show them what the game looks like when it’s played at the elite level by world-class players.
This is a huge step in the wrong direction not only for fans but for the future of soccer in US.