“Messi defies the laws of anatomy, he must have an extra bone in his ankle.” – Argentina’s 1986 World Cup-winning coach Carlos Bilardo
Lionel Messi is the current best player in the world, having won it a record five times and will surely be on the list again next year. No doubt about. He has no challenger apart from the usual suspect – Cristiano Ronaldo and maybe Neymar (a potential World best player).
He officially burst into the scene in 2005 during the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship that took place in the Netherlands. He led Argentina to win the tournament where he emerged as the best player of the tournament ahead of Nigeria’s Mikel Obi and Taye Taiwo. He also won an Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics beating Nigeria again.
Lionel Messi developed his footballing instincts from Barcelona and has won several individual and team awards. He remains the only football player in history to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or five times, four of which he won consecutively, and the first player to win three European Golden Shoes.
With Barcelona he has won seven La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions League titles, as well as three Copa del Rey titles.
Messi holds the records for most goals scored in La Liga (301), a La Liga season (50), a calendar year (91), a single season (73), a Champions League match (5), and most Champions League seasons (five).
There is a certain goalkeeper who had boasted that they have the antidote to Messi’s extra ordinary skills. He probably must have thought that he would never be exposed by the magical player. That goal tender is Petr Cech of Arsenal.
Messi had never scored against Cech in nine previous meetings and even crashed a penalty against the crossbar in the Nou Camp in 2012, right from his days at Chelsea and Cech had hoped to make it 10 but Messi had other plans.
On 23rd of February 2016, Messi finally broke the jinx and scored against Cech. Not once but twice and was at a point close to making it three. What a way to end a record! He even ‘prostrated’ while trying to prevent him from scoring.
In his elements, Messi can unlock a tight defence in a twinkle of an eye and make a world class defender look ordinary. Ask a Jerome Boateng and even Manuel Neuer afterwards.
He practically ruined the life of Boateng during the first leg of the 2015 UEFA Champions League semifinal between Barcelona and the Germans. The Blaugrana won 3-0 in a brilliant night by the Argentine superstar, and perhaps his greatest moment in the match came in the second goal, when he did this:
In an interview with ESPN FC, he didn’t have any problem answering the question about the play, and he really thinks it’s a funny moment.
“That doesn’t really affect me. I was laughing at myself. When you fall down or slip in a situation and somebody scores a goal, it’s normal. These things happen; it happens to me, it happens to other players, I don’t care about these things.
“For me, he’s the best player in the world. That’s football. Sometimes you look bad or something happens. I’m a defender, that doesn’t kill me or anything.”
Words can no longer describe this player who continues to produce earth shaking display. There have been cases where buses were parked to prevent him from conjuring his magic but he finds a way out just somehow.
Former Real Madrid coach, Jose Mourinho had severally deployed either Sergio Ramos or Pepe in the midfield just to stop Messi in his tracks and most times, the tactics failed.
As long as he is fit and wont retire, he will continue to break jinx, set records, scare out opponents and wow the footballing world.