Lionel Messi is the most successful player for the Spanish giants and a left-footed wonder in the game of modern football.
Lionel Andres Messi Cuccitini, 29, is today a towering player in the game of football. But his early days were tough. In fact, Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency as a child and at the age of 13, he joined Barcelona who had agreed to pay for his treatment. Messi had repaid that ‘debt’ with immense interest in more ways than one for his club.
Dissecting Messi physically, it has been reported that due to his short stature, Messi has a lower centre of gravity that gives him greater agility, allowing him to change direction more quickly. He possesses significant upper-body strength, which, combined with his low centre of gravity and resulting balance, aids him in withstanding physical challenges from opponents.
Possessing short, strong legs, Messi has an excellent short burst and can dribble and control the ball at top speed.
Like Diego Maradona, Messi is a predominantly left-footed player and rarely uses his right foot to shoot.
His speed, agility and his uncanny sense of positional play, Messi can tear apart the best of defenses single-handedly.
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Messi is a very unselfish player and excels in his distribution. He is also a fine dead-ball striker with the ability to curl the ball from far and near.
Would Messi have been so successful at Barca without the brilliant midfield support from Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta?
The answer is an emphatic no. He feels their absence when turning out for Argentina. Despite Angel de Maria, Xavier Mascherano, Riquelme and others for support, Messi has been a disappointment in national colours compared to his exploits for his club Barcelona.
Messi announced his retirement from International football on June 2016. But under enormous pressure, he decided to revoke that decision and will turn out for Argentina again after he serves his four-match International ban for using abusive language against a referee.
Time is surely running out for him. He will be 30 when the 2018 World Cup comes calling. Should Argentina qualify, Messi will have one last real chance at redeeming himself. But that is far easier said than done.
Yet, Messi will always be a delight to watch in the blaugrana (blue and red) of Barcelona who will be grateful to Argentine club Newell’s Old Boys for producing a player who has been the cornerstone of every victory for them for a decade and more now.
Messi was born in Rosario, Argentina on June 24, 1987. The left-footed wonder also holds Spanish nationality and has been a FC Barcelona player since 2004 and will continue to be at Camp Nou till 2018.
Five FIFA Ballon d’Or awards, three European Golden shoe awards, eight La Liga titles, four Copa del Rey and four Champions League titles, all with Barcelona, makes him the most successful player for the Spanish giants.
For Argentine, Messi made his debut in 2005 and became the youngest Argentine to play in the World Cup in 2006 in South Africa.
He became the highest goal-scorer with 58 goals in 117 appearances but has never won a major International title apart from the Under-23 Olympic Games gold in 2008 at Beijing.
Messi has figured in the 2007, 2015 and 2016 Copa America finals but Argentina lost all of them to Brazil and twice in succession to Chile.
Messi has one last chance at international glory when Argentina clashed with Germany in the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil but lost 0-1 as Mario Goetze struck during extra time.
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