Lionel Messi has left many commentators, fans, and pundits flabbergasted with his skills on the field for a long time. “La Pulga” has given the footballing world countless memorable and iconic moments, and his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo has written the footballing chapter for the last 15 years.
Among all these legendary moments, some are inevitably going to spawn a meme or a viral moment. One such moment is the birth of “Ankara Messi”. While Ankara is the capital of Turkey, the meaning of this phrase in this context has no correlation to the actual country!
People on the internet have been using it as a term of endearment for Lionel Messi for a long time. Here’s a look at the meaning of the phrase “Ankara Messi”, how it came to be, and the story behind it.
Ankara Messi meaning
To understand the “Ankara Messi” meaning, we need to look at the linguistic charm of three languages.
In this context, “Ankara” is just a mispronunciation of the word “Encara”, which comes from the Spanish langue, meaning the player pivoting and facing the opponent directly with the ball at his feet.
However, the Catalan context of the word means “Still” in English. Therefore, “Ankara Messi” meaning in Catalan translates to “Still Messi”, as in, Lionel Messi is still going ahead, dribbling and facing opponents directly.
So, “Ankara Messi” is just a mispronunciation of the Spanish word “Encara”, which, through its Catalan roots, translates directly to “Still Messi”.
Ankara Messi origin
Ankara Messi has its origin in Lionel Messi’s iconic goal against Getafe in 2007. It is the legendary goal where a 19-year-old Messi took the ball in his own half, jinked past defenders effortlessly while running straight at the opposition (Encara), and calmly slotted the ball past the goalkeeper.
While Messi was making magic happen on the pitch, commentator Joaquim Maria Puyal was unknowingly spawning a viral trend in the commentary box. Excited at the sight of an unstoppable Messi leaving defenders in the dust, he kept shouting “Encara Messi” as in “Messi is still going” while mispronouncing it as “Ankara Messi” in the ecstasy of the moment.
The fans were immediately reminded of Diego Maradona’s similar goal in the World Cup of 1986 against England. Lionel Messi announced his arrival to the footballing world by emulating the goal of the man to who many believed Messi was the heir.
Since that moment and the birth of “Ankara Messi”, any time Lionel Messi does something otherworldly, or scores a solo goal, the top reactions to it are fans writing “Ankara Messi”. Rightly so, since Messi has now won truly everything there is to win at the club and international level and is still going. Or as fans would say, “Ankara Messi”.