Is Lionel Messi A Protected Player?

A comment by Atletico Madrid left back Felipe Luiz has sparked discussion that football lovers or Messi haters would debate. Couple of months back, Luiz was given a red card in their 2-1 loss to Barcelona after his tackle on Lionel Messi and was not happy about the decision.

He believes that Messi is protected by La Liga and the Spanish media.

“I was not late, I went after the ball. Now that type of play happens during every match, but because it was with Messi and because here he is the darling of the media and La Liga, obviously no one wants to see one of the best players of all time taken out. No one wants to miss a chance to see him play and that is why all of this happened” Luiz said.

La Liga president Javier Tebas responded to the comments.

“For us, all the players are protected in La Liga. We don’t differentiate between Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo or a player from Rayo Vallecano. We are creating a global league and the big and small clubs all matter to us” Tebas told

I don’t think Messi is protected but since he is currently the best player in the world, referees may consider favouring him and his team because of his reputation as a world class footballer. The media do adore him mainly due to his footballing ability and the variety of quality goals he scores.

Not only is Messi recognised in the Spanish media but around the world so people and the media speak wonders of him. However, I don’t call this protecting him. Players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar probably get the same attention in Spain, while Jamie Vardy is getting the same treatment in England this season. So saying Messi is protected is a little far-fetched.

Luiz’s anger at the red card seems to have clouded his judgement and perception on what the difference is between protection and wide-spread admiration. The two will clash again when Atletico Madrid face Barcelona in the Champions League Quarter Finals.

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