Why Does Messi Walk in Games?
Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest soccer player of all time, plays his own unique way. If you’ve ever watched him, one aspect of his game that differs from others is that he walks a lot. While most professional soccer players will hustle their way into the action, Messi stays back until the opportunity comes to him.
Some people will think it’s just pure laziness. Others think that Messi walks to conserve his energy or believe that it’s part of his game strategy.
Here’s what I personally think is happening. By walking, Messi can position himself better on the pitch and make better decisions about when to sprint and when to hold back. This means that he can be more effective during crucial moments of the game, such as when he needs to make a run or take a shot at goal.
Messi’s soccer brain works a little bit differently than the average professional soccer player. As such, he can plan two or three moves ahead of his opponent. Just take a look at this video…
If you want to learn more, let’s break this topic down a bit more.
Messi is Always Planning & Scanning
Messi is known for his exceptional vision and ability to read the game, and walking allows him to observe the movement of his teammates and opponents.
If you watch Messi closely, he is constantly surveying the field. He’ll look back, forward, left, and right with his brain anticipating possible scenarios like a game of Chess.
Messi’s walking also lets him stay calm and composed on the ball. When he receives the ball, he is often surrounded by multiple defenders, and walking allows him to assess the situation and make the best decision on how to move forward.
By staying calm and composed, Messi is able to make split-second decisions that often lead to goals or assists.
Importance of Conserving Energy in Soccer
Messi’s tendency to walk during matches has been a topic of discussion among soccer fans and analysts.
One of the reasons for his walking is to conserve energy. Conserving energy during a match is essential for players who want to perform at their best throughout the game.
In youth soccer, this is not taught enough. Coaches want players who give 100% at all times but sometimes it’s unnecessary or simply wasted hustle.
Longevity in Games
Conserving energy during a match can help players maintain their performance levels for an extended period.
Soccer games can last up to 90 minutes, and players who run constantly without conserving energy are likely to experience fatigue towards halftime and the end of the game.
By conserving energy, players can reduce the risk of getting tired and losing their effectiveness towards the end of the game. This is especially important for players like Messi, who are expected to play the full 90 minutes of a match.
Prevention of Injuries
Conserving energy can also help prevent injuries. Soccer is a physically demanding sport that requires players to make sudden movements, change direction quickly, and jump.
Players who are tired are more likely to make mistakes and get injured. By conserving energy, players can reduce the risk of getting injured and ensure that they can continue to play at their best throughout the match.
Messi’s Strategic Positioning
As sometimes a False 9, midfielder, or winger, Lionel Messi is known for his tendency to walk around the pitch during games, which has led many to question his work rate.
However, Messi’s walking is actually a strategic move that allows him to position himself in the most advantageous spots on the pitch.
One of the reasons Messi walks so much during games is to create space for himself and his teammates. By walking around the pitch, he is able to draw defenders away from certain areas, creating gaps in the opposition’s defense.
This allows Messi to receive the ball in space, giving him more time and room to make decisions and create scoring opportunities.
As one of the most dangerous players on the pitch, opponents are often wary of leaving him unmarked. By walking towards certain areas of the field, Messi is able to draw defenders towards him, creating more space for his teammates to exploit.
This is a key aspect of Messi’s game, as it allows him to create scoring opportunities for his teammates, even if he is not directly involved in the play.
I wish more coaches would welcome this type of strategy. By walking, a player can take a step back and evaluate different scenarios. Of course, there’s a fine line and a player has to have the skills to take advantage of it but it can prove valuable to certain players.
By constantly scanning and looking for opportunities, players like Messi can take advantage of plays that open up opportunities to pass or score.
Messi is a special talent and may work for him, especially at Inter Miami where he is getting older and much of the focus is on him. He can draw defenders in while conserving energy. We’ll see if other pro players follow his style and tactic!