Here’s a photo of Lionel Messi jogging on a treadmill, watching his own highlights.
— Messi at the training center while watching his goals of 2019 on television. Class. pic.twitter.com/cM3VMcAm5y— Barca Universal (@BarcaUniversal) December 30, 2019
The photo comes from an aggregation account, so we can’t verify its authenticity or when it was taken. But it is completely believable that a sports channel would be on TV at the Barcelona training facility, and that it might be airing Lionel Messi highlights.
On the surface, this situation seems ... a bit narcissistic? There would be something uncomfortable to me about watching myself on TV, especially if the point of the show was to tell everyone how much I kick ass. But I am, of course, not Lionel Messi. I am not the greatest of all time at anything. And I think that there’s a level of accomplishment that someone can reach where this sort of self-absorption becomes entirely appropriate.
Messi’s apparent narcissism is also not without precedent. Derek Jeter allegedly did the same thing, allegedly yelling “YEAH JEETS” while watching himself make great plays, and also allegedly softly saying “yeah jeets” to his partner while he was allegedly having sex. A lot of elite professional athletes seem to have very high opinions of themselves, a personality trait that is off-putting to a majority of people. But here’s the thing: When you’re as good as Lionel Messi, there isn’t much of a difference between narcissism and the correct opinion that, yes, you are the shit.
I’m not sure what the cutoff is for when doing something like this makes you a prick. Perhaps it’s the Hall of Fame level. I think Jeets is juuuuust over the threshold of athletic accomplishment required to make this behavior acceptable. Lionel Messi is clearly miles past it. He can watch his own highlights all he wants and we can’t say a damn thing. I’d watch my own highlights in public all the time if I was Lionel Messi and say “yeah, that’s me” to everyone who walked by.