Lionel Messi, The World's Greatest Soccer Player Ever

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    Nov 22, 2012
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Lionel Messi is generally thought to be the finest soccer player in the world today, perhaps the finest ever. His goal scoring abilities are nothing short of wondrous.

Messi was born in Argentina in 1987 of Italian parentage and began playing organized soccer at the age of five, under the coaching of his father. When he was eleven, Messi's family discovered that he had a hormonal growth deficiency. The treatment cost $900 a month, and the only people able and willing to afford it were the huge powerhouse Spanish football club, Barcelona, who had become aware of the young boy's talent. They agreed to pay for the treatment, providing that Messi and his father moved to Spain to become part of the Barcelona coaching program.

It was quickly realized that Messi was a very unusual and outstanding talent indeed, and he played his first game for the senior Barcelona side on 16th November 2003 aged 16 years and 145 days. He very soon became the youngest ever player to play in La Liga, the Spanish football league, and the youngest player ever to score in La Liga competition. He obtained Spanish citizenship, and was offered the chance to play for Spain in international competition, but he remained loyal to his Argentinian heritage and became an international player for Argentina in 2004.

Messi is relatively short and chunky in build with a low center of gravity. He has an extraordinary ability to run with the ball at high speed, and to dodge and weave with the ball at his feet. He is often compared with Maradona, although his career has not been the travesty which Maradona's quickly became. Messi has wonderful spacial abilities, takes great penalties, is outstanding during set piece play and is an unselfish team player. He is strong on both the left and right wings, but lethal on the right as he has power in both feet.

He plays in what is now known as the False – 9 position, where he appears to be operating as a lone striker or center forward, but also drops back to play in midfield. High speed and agility make this a very difficult proposition for defenders, especially where managers insist on zonal marking, which simply doesn't work against the greatest player in the world.

He holds countless records in club, European and World football, and has been loaded with honors such as the Ballon d'Or an unprecedented three years running, FIFA World Player of the Year, has been top goal scorer over many seasons and competitions. He is also the richest soccer player in the world.

In his personal life, he has maintained strong links with his Argentinian home town, and indeed, his girlfriend who comes from that town, gave birth to his first child, a son, on November 2nd 2012. He has several sporting charities and a strong interest in helping children with hormone growth deficiencies, to which he himself could have fallen victim but for his footballing skills and the help of his club, Barcelona.

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