Messi’s ‘Japanese plan’ to win the Cup

From here Exactly 5 months ago, on November 22, the Argentine national team enters the Lusail Stadium, in the city of the same name, to face Saudi Arabia and debut in the 2022 World Cup, in Qatar.

The World Cup carries in the neighboring country, as of now, the greatest expectation of the last 20 years. And what irony. The 2002 World Cup, in which Argentina arrived as favorites and was eliminated in the first phase, ended up being the last of the selection without Lionel Messi.

And if the subject is “the last World Cup”, the one in Qatar will also be the final chapter of the Argentine genius on the biggest stage of the ball. The occasion already deserves your extra care in the search for the only expressive title that your impressive career lacks.

Messi will turn 35 this Friday (24), and the Qatar World Cup will be his fifth. Experience is not lacking. Physical condition, no. Despite being hunted by opponents for long seasons, Messi has never suffered a serious injury, a huge testament to his body care.

And in the five months until his debut, the Argentine genius will carry out what he and his teammates call the “Japanese plan”, a relaxed way of treating his training, which is more of a “polishing” until then.

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Lionel Messi and Nicolás Tagliafico celebrate Copa America title

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‘Japanese plan’?

The idea of ​​calling the preparation a “Japanese plan” came from Nicolás Tagliafico, the Ajax left-back who is always close to Messi in concentrations.

A voracious reader, Tagliafico is to Messi what Jorge Valdano was to Diego Maradona in the 1986 World Cup — contextualizing in phrases and ideas what the genius expresses with the balls at his feet.

“Nico”, as Tagliafico is called, is a fanatic of Eastern philosophy, the subject of a complete interview with the daily “hello” last week.

Always looking for “minimalist” references to put Eastern teachings into practice, he found in Messi an interested interlocutor to talk about “less is more”, “down to earth”, “the trampled past” and “building the future from the present”.

All in the best style “the power of now” — the name, by the way, of one of his favorite books, in which the German author Eckhart Tolle reviews a series of concepts from Eastern philosophies.

Such care has been put into practice by Messi — and narrated in detail by Argentine newspapers, which seem to illustrate the preparations like the soundcheck of a great musician.

Who reads the “Clarin” it’s the “La Nación“, for example, follows Messi’s redoubled care with “siesta“, the typical Argentine nap after lunch, and the limits on sugar and fat consumption.

Adding sugar to mate, for example, is vetoed by the national team’s nutritionists, as is an exaggerated amount of medialunas or empanadas — Argentine delicacies are based on flour and are checked weekly.

Messi’s “less is more” on his way to Qatar is also seen in the use of social networks, increasingly limited to him and his sons, Thiago and Mateo (the youngest Ciro still does not access them).

Emotions always running high with the Argentine fans will also be more careful this time, and the logistics from Europe to Qatar will also be allied to this mental self-control that will be really put to the test in the months between the opening of his last Cup.

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Messi enjoys vacation with his wife Antonela

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favorable timetable

As far as the physique is concerned, an important change from the last World Cups is in the calendar. Instead of the World Cup being at the end of the European season, now the World Cup in Qatar, in November and December, will help Messi to control his exhaustion at PSG and reach the Cup in the best possible conditions.

For that, according to his surroundings, Kylian Mbappé’s sequel at PSG was welcome. That way he will be able to share the attention and pressure at the club.

In the selection, the closest ones will also fulfill this role of dispersing difficulties. From veterans like Otamendi and Di María, to younger ones like De Paul and Paredes.

In past World Cups, Messi mainly relied on Mascherano’s experience.

Now, he will be the referent. All the more reason to plan every step from here to there. One step at a time. As the Orientals teach.

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About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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