“He plays like a child enjoying the pasture, playing for the pleasure of playing, not the duty of wining” quoted the Uruguayan soccer novelist Eduardo Galeano regarding soccer’s current greatest player on the planet Lionel Andres Messi from Argentina. The comment above is a flowing tribute to a player whose style of play can only take your breath away no matter where you belong . In today’s commercial and complex world of soccer the arrival of an “Artist” like Messi is indeed rare and is like a breath of fresh air very refreshing to the soul.
Lionel Messi was born in Rosario, Santa Fe Province in Argentina to parents Jorge Horacio Messi and Celia Maria Cuccittini. While Messi’s father worked in a steel factory his mother was a part time cleaner. He was born on the 24 th June 1987. It was within the confines of this humble background that Messi began to take baby steps in soccer by playing for club called Grandoli coached by his own father at the tender age of five. In addition to his parents he also has two brothers Rodrigo and Matias and a sister named Maria Sol. It was in the year 1995 that he switched over Newell’s Old Boys a club based in his hometown Rosario. At a very young age of eleven he was diagnosed by a growth hormone deficiency. It was at this juncture that one of Argentina’s most popular club River Plate expressed a interest in Messi. Unfortunately River plate could not pay for the medical expenses of Messi condition. It was around this period that the prodigal talent of Messi was beginning to catch the eye of many clubs but the club that was taking a keen interest was Barcelona. So with the help of some of his relatives who lived Lleida Catalonia and his father he was able to give a trial for a prestigious club like Barcelona. So impressed was Barcelona with this little prodigy’s talent that they were prepared to pay for his medical condition if he was willing to move to Spain. Finally Messi and his father moved to Spain and was officially was a part of Barcelona’s youth academy and thus was on his way to great successes in the years to come.
The first appearance of Messi for Barcelona’s first team was in the 2006-2007 Spanish League season. With talent that Messi possessed it was not surprising that he made an immediate impact in his first season by scoring 14 goals in 26 matches. It was in this very first season that he impressed one and all with his sudden changes in pace, beautiful dribbling , impeccable ball control and last but not least a great vision and ability to create opportunities for his teammates. Such was the impact of Messi in the first season that he scored his first hat trick against Real Madrid a team considered Barcelona fiercest rival. During his first season he also replicated Mardona’s solo run goal of Mexico ’86 against Getafe and lived up to the expectation of being “ The next Maradona” a tag given to him by Spanish media during the course of the season. The so called Messi magic continued in the next few seasons with number of goals and assists only growing in each season. His efforts was finally rewarded when he received his first prestigious FIFA Worlds Player of the Year award in 2009. Due to his continued dominance of world football he once again was awarded the FIFA World’s Player of the Year in 2010 and 2011.
Although Messi continues to dominate at club level he has failed to make an impact at the national level for his country Argentina. The reason behind is failure for his country is quite simply the lack of quality and depth in the Argentina squad as compared to Barcelona. In terms of quality Messi has it all in himself to be up there with the best of the best with likes of Pele, Zidane, Maradona etc. All he needs his to win the World cup for Argentina. Till then let us enjoy his breathtaking skills and goal scoring ability he displays for Barcelona day in and day out.