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Pessi, also known as Pionel Pessi, is a nickname given to professional footballer Lionel Messi that's used to criticize him for seemingly only scoring goals via penalties. The nickname was coined in 2012 on 4chan's /sp/ (sports) board during an FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid match that had angry Cristiano Ronaldo fans involved. Pessi also became associated with an altered photo of Messi showing him as old, bald and toothless. The image macro first surfaced in 2022 but became a prominent meme on TikTok in early 2023 via crudely made video skits. Additionally, fans of Messi started calling Ronaldo "Penaldo" (an antithesis of Pessi).
On August 23rd, 2012, a thread started in 4chan's /sp/ board that was started during the Official Supercopa de España 2012: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid. The thread gained hundreds of replies as 4chan users were watching the game, eventually spawning the first utterance of the Pessi nickname within the thread (shown below). More users namedropped "Pessi" in the /sp/ thread as the game developed.
Going into 2013, "Pessi" was continuously mentioned on /sp/. In the late 2010s, "Pessi" continued to surface on /sp/. On October 20th, 2020, the verified Twitter account @DoentesPFutebol tweeted a photo of Messi taking a penalty kick, captioning it, "Pessi," and gaining roughly 1,700 likes in three years (shown below, left). On December 22nd, 2020, "Pessi" was added to Urban Dictionary for the first time by the user Not going to tell (shown below, right).
On April 17th, 2022, the Facebook page Fútbol al revés posted a photoshopped image of Lionel Messi in a PSG jersey, making him look bald, old and toothless with a grey beard. The image had a bottom caption reading, "Mister Pre-Asistencia" and over the course of one year, the post received roughly 13,000 reactions (shown below). Cropped versions of the image surfaced on Twitter soon after, later surfacing on /sp/.
On May 16th, 2022, TikToker @white_club_is_madrid posted a video using the old, bald Pessi image, gaining roughly 45,500 plays and 1,200 likes in 11 months (shown below, left). Going into early 2023, usage of the old, bald Pessi image became commonplace on TikTok, edited into crudely made video skits that made fun of Messi. For instance, on March 8th, 2023, TikToker @f00tb4ll.tv posted a Pessi video that gained roughly 1.1 million plays and 117,500 likes in one month (shown below, right).
@white_club_is_madrid #pessi #fyp #realmadrid ♬ sonido original – Corazon_rma
@f00tb4ll.tv give my boy pepsi a penalty or he will ghost😭😭 #pepsi #pessi #ghost #bayern #psg #fcbpsg #ucl #edit #selfmade #fyp ♬ som original – 𝐿𝚘𝚋𝚘𖩤🐺
Going into April 2023, Pessi-related memes earned more engagement and virality, specifically via videos that compared Pessi and Penaldo.
https://www.tiktok.com/embed/7218672534626094378 https://www.tiktok.com/embed/7219897255635979521 https://www.tiktok.com/embed/7219026361032150278
 Twitter – @DoentesPFutebol
 Facebook – Fútbol al revés
 Twitter – @sht_marcel
 4chan (via 4plebs) – /sp/
 TikTok – @white_club_is_madrid
 TikTok – @f00tb4ll.tv
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