Argentina star Lionel Messi’s career has truly completed a full circle. With the FIFA World Cup 2022 triumph, the phenomenal playmaker added the only missing laurel from his trophy cabinet and has, since then, edged ahead in the race to become the GOAT of football.

Messi, who has sent shivers down the spine of the opposition defences time and again over the years through his trademark mazy runs, was at his best once again at Qatar 2022.

In the semi-final, Lionel Messi produced another moment of individual brilliance when he made the best use of his dribbling skills to get the better of Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol on the right flank, before laying it on the platter for Julian Alvarez for a simple finish for the third goal as La Albiceleste sealed the final berth with a 3-0 win.

The move was reminiscent of one of his performances for Barcelona against Getafe in a Copa del Rey 2007 clash, during which he made a similar run. The fans were quick to recall that moment and hence, ‘Ankara Messi’ made a comeback to grace the marquee event.

What does ‘Ankara Messi’ mean?

The phrase ‘Ankara Messi’ means ‘still Messi’ as the word ‘encarar’ is a Spanish term that means ‘still’ in English.

It was first used by the commentator Joaquim Maria Puyal, who was on broadcast duties for the Copa del Rey 2006-07 semi-final first-leg fixture between Barcelona and Getafe where FCB won by 5-2.

Messi, a 19-year-old rising star at that time, dribbled past several Getafe players, beginning from his own half, to round off the keeper and net a terrific goal for his team.

Joaquim Maria Puyal kept repeating ‘Ankara Messi’, with a higher intensity each time throughout the iconic run. 

In the context of that goal, ‘Ankara Messi’ meant that the Argentine maestro is still in possession of the ball despite the challenges and tackles of the opposition players to dispossess him.


Photo credit: Alamy