James Lawton: Messi a rare shining light as Suarez reminds us of football’s heart of darkness
Published 08/01/2013 | 05:00
On the night Lionel Messi reminded us that uncommon grace can still occasionally walk easily alongside the highest achievement, Luis Suarez was still locked away from the kind of uncomplicated acclaim that once again bathed football's fabulous Little Big Man in Zurich.
While Suarez's apologists, led by his Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, insisted that he owed the game no more than his most ruthless accomplishment, Messi was suggesting his unprecedented fourth straight Ballon d'Or should really have been handed to his relatively unheralded Barcelona team-mate Andres Iniesta.
The images of two remarkably gifted footballers were separated by more than a large slice of Europe. Messi's argument for Iniesta was that he was the heartbeat and creative force of Spain's historic achievement of winning three straight major international tournaments.