Lionel Messi—probably the best player in the world today. He is one of the finest and most exciting footballing talents in the world. He had this never ending comparison with the former Manchester United Winger Cristiano Ronaldo but he kind of shrugged off it by helping his team defeat Manchester United convincingly in the UEFA Champions League finals at Rome 2009.
How did he attain this place at the top of the world? At cloud nine?
Messi’s performances in the 2005-06 season earned him rave reviews and a place in Argentina’s World Cup squad.
A forward or attacking midfielder, Messi is blessed with outstanding ball control and pace and has the potential to become one of the finest players the game has seen.
Barcelona is reaping the benefits of his growing maturity on the highest stage and at home in Argentina he has become the latest player to earn the moniker of ‘the new Maradona’. That is a difficult tag to carry, but so far he has borne it well.
Yet, Messi’s story could have ended before it begun had Barca not taken him under its wing at an early age. Messi was born in Rosario, Argentina, and showed a great aptitude for football as a child. He played at a club called Grandoli, which was coached by his father, from the age of five and later moved to Newell’s Old Boys.
He showed all the signs of having a promising footballing career ahead of him but at the age of 11 he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency that required expensive treatment.
His parents could not afford it but after some tentative signs of awareness in Messi’s talent from Barcelona, they decided to move to Spain. Messi tried out for Barca and the club was so impressed it agreed to pay for his medical treatment.
Barca is now receiving enormous return on its investment after Messi rose through the youth ranks to the very top. He was in the first team by 17 and a full international the following year.
He shone even in a Barcelona team boasting the ilk of Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto’o...