Real Men Don't Need a Comfort Zone, like Messi They Take a Hit and Win

Article excerpt

Byline: SHAY HEALY SETS THE CAT AMONG THE PIGEONS

NATURE has its own way of clowning around, which is how two great heroes, with greatly contrasting ambitions, came to be born in the town of Rosario in Argentina. The first of these men was Ernesto De La Serna Guevara Lynch, otherwise known as Che. He won renown as a major figure in the overthrow of Cuba's dictator, Fulgencio Batista, and the stylised poster of Che is still a ubiquitous, worldwide counter-cultural symbol.

Some see Che through rose-tinted glasses and view him as an angel of deliverance.

More view him as a ruthless killer, who presided over his own kangaroo courts as judge and jury and often, having pronounced the death sentence, was not averse to becoming the executioner. By way of justification, he said, 'Chivatos [spies] must be executed.' Che liked to quote a line from a Turkish poet, Nazim Hikmet Ran, who was described as a romantic communist revolutionary: 'I will take to the grave only the sorrow of an unfinished song...' I used to think like that - that it would be a tragedy to die feeling you hadn't achieved your ambitions.

But now I think that the secret of life is never to try to completely finish your song... happiness and joy come from looking for that last rhyme... that last chorus... until the day you die and the angel's trumpet sounds the last missing note of the symphony of your life.

The other famous man to be born in Rosario is Lionel Andres Messi Cuccittini, who plays for FC Barcelona and captains the Argentina national team.

Messi has won world renown in a different manner to Che.

He has shot a lot more than Che, but his shots were with a ball.

He won the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations by the age of 21.

He won the 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year, 2010 FIFA Ballon d'Or and the 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or. He also won the 2010 to 2011 Best Player in Europe award. And Messi is no softie. He doesn't need any poet to warn him that opposing teams send on their toughest defenders to put manners on Messi, only to realise what a useless tactic they are employing.

'Something deep in my character,' says Messi, 'allows me to take the hits and get on with trying to win.' THE renown of these two men from one small town in Argentina is based on a kind of manly courage, which is being trivialised constantly by an immensely irritating neologism. …