Introducing this documentary on the world’s greatest footballer, and perhaps the best of all time, Mark Chapman admits the show is a little self-indulgent.
But he asks: “What’s wrong with that when we’re talking about Barcelona?”
He has a point. Messi has transfixed football fans across the world, this season becoming his club’s top goalscorer in history – at the age of just 24. The Magic of Messi also portrays the superstar as a regular guy, shunning the highlife to live with his family, who moved from Argentina to join him in Catalonia.
In so many ways, the Argentine midfielder simply defies belief and so it is hardly a surprise 5 Live chose to devote a whole hour to him.
It was not quite a full hour of fawning over the little maestro. South American-based football journalist Tim Vickery shot out a warning, pointing out Messi has not had sustained success at international level and so is no Maradona in that he is not quite able to drag his country to success singlehandedly – at least, not yet.
The show did become slightly grating by the end. Yes, we know Messi is pretty special. Everyone knows it. But perhaps there should have been more delving into Messi’s early life and his mentality apart from just endlessly repeating the obvious.
The only other minor fault with The Magic of Messi was its occasional mateyness, alluding to inside jokes rather than concentrating on Messi himself.
Still, if the programme was not quite as graceful and elaborate as the footballer himself, it did much of the hard work and ground out a solid if unspectacular result.
The Magic of Messiwas broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live at 9pm last night.