Ever since Lionel Messi picked up a groin injury during the La Liga match against Atlético Madrid, the football world has turned upside down and the hot takes don't stop. "Can Barça survive without Messi?" is the talk of the town, and everyone from fans to coaches are giving their opinion on the matter.
As someone who is also guilty of overreaction from time to time, I understand all the takes and opinions and all of that. But the truth is, all of this is one big overreaction party. There's just too much being made out of very little, to be quite honest.
First of all, the one thing everyone is overlooking is that Messi is out for three weeks. THREE. WEEKS. Two of them won't even have games because of the international break, so Messi will actually miss ONE WEEK of football. Sure, this week has three very difficult games for Barcelona, but it's still just a week. Messi didn't tear his cruciate ligament and is out for the season, and he definitely will not miss two months like he did last year. When Messi hurt his knee and missed 10 matches, there was zero talk of "Can Barça survive?", zero hot takes, zero opinions from everyone.
Neymar and Suárez took the keys of the kingdom and destroyed everybody together during Messi's absence, and they'll probably do it again in the next three games. Barça will be just fine without Leo, it's just that simple. Sure, football is crazy and maybe Luisito and Ney won't be at their best this week and Barça will struggle, but there's still a lot of time left in the season and Messi will be back in THREE WEEKS to tear the world apart again.
Perhaps the reason why this injury has generated so much controversy is that this was a muscle injury, and it happened in a big game. Messi doesn't suffer muscle injuries, and he's dealt with two in September alone. Much has been made about how Leo plays 90 minutes in every game, but he has done it throughout his career and was just okay. Muscle injuries happen, they're the most common in football actually and everyone can suffer from them, even a relatively injury-free player like Leo.
That infamous knee injury a year ago happened in an early Saturday kickoff against Las Palmas. Nobody watched that match and learned about Messi's problem later, which is not nearly as bad as an injury happening to him against Atlético. Everybody saw it live, and the sight of Leo Messi being injured is not usual and something our brains struggle to process. Then we start to create narratives to make up for our lack of belief, and some are better at creating narratives than others, to put it politely.
To sum up: Barça CAN survive without Messi, the injury is a part of the game and he's only out for three weeks, which is actually just one week. So let's all come down, please?