Nov 8, 2022 - World

Podcast probes Messi's rise as he embarks on last World Cup

an image of a new podcast called the "last cup: Messi's Final shot" with a soccer ball on it

Image: Jesse Brown/NPR. Courtesy of NPR.

The story of fútbol superstar Lionel Messi and the complicated relationship he and many migrants have with their home countries are the subjects of NPR’s first dual language podcast.

The big picture: "The Last Cup/La última copa" comes as Latinos storytellers are increasingly getting space to tell their stories on U.S. radio and podcasts.

Details: "The Last Cup," hosted by Argentine American journalist Jasmine Garsd, comes out Thursday. It tells the story of Messi finding fame in Spanish soccer clubs but floundering when playing for Argentina, interspersed with Garsd's own tale of fleeing Buenos Aires during a national crisis and longing to go back.

  • Each episode will be available in English and in Spanish, and each language will have its own feel, Garsd says.
  • "Some jokes and references work in Spanish but not in English, and we didn't want Spanish listeners to just get a dub," Garsd explains. "Each one has its own personality and shines on its own," she says.

Background: Messi, 35, has said this year’s World Cup, which starts Nov. 21, will be his last.

  • He left Argentina as a preteen two decades ago and debuted as a pro with FC Barcelona in 2003.
  • He’s won the prestigious Ballon d’Or a record seven times, but faced criticism back home for not delivering for Argentina when it came to international competitions.
  • It wasn't until last year that Messi helped Argentina win an international contest, the Copa América.

What they're saying: "Fútbol is never just fútbol," Garsd says. "It's a window to understanding the world."

  • The podcast serves as an avenue for talking about the immigrant experience and all the fears, alienation and other feelings that come with it, Garsd tells Axios Latino.

State of play: Futuro Media, which co-produced "The Last Cup," has also launched popular podcasts in the past two years like "LOUD: The History of Reggaeton" and "Anything for Selena."

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