Messi’s seemingly never-ending magic has helped him achieve numbers and records you’d expect from a video game character.
Lionel Messi is possibly the most lauded soccer player of any generation. And with good reason. The world has witnessed impossible feat after impossible feat from the little Argentine since he stepped onto the scene about 14 years ago.
But Messi’s magic, beyond how outrageously good he is, is that he simply doesn’t stop. He’s been oftentimes accused of being an alien, and if you’ve ever seen him play, it’s easy to imagine why.
Messi’s seemingly never-ending magic has helped him achieve numbers and records you’d expect from a video game character. Among Messi’s marks: most titles won (31), Argentina’s all-time top scorer (61), first player to reach 250 La Liga goals, most FIFA Ballons d’Or (five, shared with Cristiano Ronaldo), most consecutive Ballons d’Or (4), Guiness World Record as top scorer in a calendar year (91), top scorer in a club season (73), and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
His numbers go on and on, and at only 30 years old it’ll only get better for his fans and worse for his opponents.
Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola described it best: “Don’t write about him. Don’t try to describe him: watch him.” And that’s precisely what the world has been doing this summer’s FIFA World Cup.
With all of the accolades that seemingly increase year by year, it can be easy to look at Messi and forget that he, too, was once a young player with goals, hopes and dreams. In fact, while Messi’s coordination between foot and ball have always been evident and otherworldly, his road to stardom was anything but easy.
Messi has always been, and still is, small in stature – often a difficult hand to overcome. To compound things, as a young child he was diagnosed with a condition that impaired his ability to make human growth hormone, and thus required supplementation.
While early on Lionel was able to get adequate treatment from a local endocrinologist, soon Argentina’s tumultuous economic climate posed a problem – the insurance company that had previously covered treatment failed for bankruptcy, and the Messis were unable to afford the expensive treatment.
Next came a move to Barcelona for the 13-year-old and his family. The Messis chose Barcelona because it was the only club willing to cover the costs for Lionel’s treatment.
Since the decision, Barcelona has been paid off in full, and then some, for its gesture. Messi quickly ascended through the club’s system, signing his first pro contract at 18. He has been with the team ever since, amassing the aforementioned awards and records list that renders him one of the most decorated players in the history of the sport.
Entering the World Cup, Messi’s trophy cabinet had an Argentina-sized hole. It is no secret his eye is set on taking the trophy home this summer. The 30 year old has stated he would happily trade his five Ballons D’or in an instant for one World Cup trophy.
Messi will be looking for redemption after painfully losing the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final to Germany in extra time, and if his performances this year are any indication of what’s to come, we’re in for a treat this summer.