"For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required." — Luke 12:48
We have heard this translated as: "To whom much is given, much is required."
It rings so true in athletics. Lionel Messi is perhaps the most gifted football player in the world. With those gifts come accomplishment, fame and, of course, expectations.
Because of those expectations, his performance in Barca's last two matches makes him a justifiable target for blame.
He then went without a goal vs. Chelsea in a 3-2 defeat in the 2012 Champions League semifinal.
Watch the video here:
To add insult to the defeat, Messi banged an important penalty kick off the bar. It has not been a good week for the FC Barcelona star.
Had he converted, Barca would have been up 3-1.
He has now failed to score a goal in eight games versus Chelsea.
If another member of the club misses this opportunity, there would be some rumblings; but overall, things would blow over quickly.
But this is Messi, the sport's premier athlete and most popular player. This will not die easily.
He certainly should have put the PK in the back of the net, but he didn't, and he has an entire offseason to reflect on his missed opportunity.
That said, we can often forget the amazing accomplishments from athletes as gifted as Messi. Amidst the attention to their fails, we fail to recognize their triumphs. In most cases, they far outweigh the times they come up short.
The fact is, without Messi, the club isn't even playing at this stage. He has scored 63 goals in combined competition this season.
He has been remarkable. Barcelona's manager Pep Guardiola recognizes Messi's contributions and defended him. As quoted by the Guardian:
We have got this far thanks to this kid. More than ever I want to thank him for what he's done.
My admiration for him knows no limits. He is an example for all of us, his competitiveness inspires us. He's daring, he's brave and he plays fantastically well in all kinds of different conditions.
I don't doubt he will have a few bad hours now but sometimes you smile and sometimes you are sad and it's our turn to be sad. Someone else is going to the final in Munich and we have to come back next year.
I couldn't agree more with his sentiments. While we acknowledge Messi should have nailed the penalty, we can't forget the outstanding play that helped his team be in that position.