When Rodrigo De Paul made his official debut in the first of Racing, on February 10, 2013 in Rafaela, Lionel Messi already had two Champions League under his belt, three Ballons d'Or, several Spanish Leagues and also painful moments in the Argentine National Team, like that image on the bench against Germany in 2006, the final of the 2007 Copa América, the 0-4 against the Teutons in 2010 and the disappointing 2011 Copa América.
Almost nine years later, 2021 finds them together, continental champions, partners inside and cronies outside, with a testimony that seems to find its heir. On the field of play, De Paul is what the Flea needed in recent years. A standard bearer of sacrifice, an all-rounder that recovers and plays, but breaks the dependence on Lionel Messi.
One of the keys is that unlike many predecessors, he does not feel the obligation that all the balls are for 10, even when he is not in a position to receive. Because stars also need to be made to feel important but not indispensable.
The night in Buenos Aires was magical. Messi came out applauded from the Monumental. As always, but without that backpack of failure. De Paul was replaced and the "Rodrigo Rodrigo" exploded. Argentina continues on its way nonstop to Qatar, in what may be the last chance for La Pulga, with a partner he chose to accompany and succeed him.