Adesola Ayo-Aderele identifies the age in Messi’s favour as an important decider of her support for him to win the World Cup 2022 which ended in Qatar yesterday.

Adesola is former Editor of the PUNCH Online/Digital Media. She is a multiple award-winning multimedia journalist with over a decade of experience in development communication. And of course with an abiding interest in football sports.

The world always roots for young persons, as if ageing is a curse, never mind that no one wants to die young.

My support for Messi is my own way of kicking against ageism.

And, as if that’s not bad enough, young people also come with “attitude.” They expect older persons to yield way or vacate the space for them ‘just because.’

It’s not uncommon to hear snide remarks about “old cargo” and such other denigrating terms that are used to describe an ageing person.

The situation is as terrible in corporate environment where on-the-job experience is very important.

The home front is no easier, as young adults suddenly find their voices after graduation, automatically assuming the know-all garb and regularly punctuating every conversation with “Dad/mum, you can’t understand,” even when the parents hold double their academic status.

In football, as in any sport, Messi might as well have become a nonagenarian. To young professionals like Mbappe in a sport where a climbing age is viewed with disdain, 35-year-old Messi is probably considered an old man who is running overtime and who should cede the boots without further ado.

And that’s why I’m super happy for his hard -won success at his obviously last World Cup endeavour.

If that taught a lesson that ageing doesn’t necessarily make anyone less effective, so be it.

Unlike Messi, Mbappe still has three World Cups before him. That should give him hope, instead of what appears to be bellicosity on his part as he collected his Golden Boot.

Of course, we’re almost all guilty of practising ageism, as older persons also have the penchant to rubbish a young person’s integrity or efforts with the worn cliché such as “during our own time;” or the usual romanticization of a past whose successes are sometimes more of exaggeration and wishful thinking.

As Messi returns home with the prize, it’s a befitting retirement from international football because he earned it fair and square.

Meanwhile, whether he is a GOAT or not depends on the view of the barbecue joint operator down the street.

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