Thursday, 6 August 2009

Lionel Messi: God's Gift To Football

Is there a player out there that moves a ball with such grace, such elegance other than Lionel Messi??

His 38 goals for Barcelona last season played a major role in them winning a famous treble, but it was the way he contributed to the team in other ways as well that makes him stand out as a very special player.

Many of his goals are similar to that of his number ten predecessor, Ronaldinho, taking on about three or four defenders then slotting the ball past the 'keeper. There are not many players in the world that can do this on a regular basis.

Consistency is key to Messi's game and he has that in abundance.

The way he runs at players, taking them on at every opportunity. Exploiting the slightest weakness in a defender's abilities has been his specialty over recent seasons and the last campaign was no different.

His ability to head the ball was in question all season but Messi saved the best until last as he rose rather comfortably above Rio Ferdinand to head home the second in a 2-0 victory, making the United central defender look mediocre rather than world class. It is definitely part of his game he will look to improve on.

The fact this is also a likable person sets him apart from his greatest rival for the crown of the world's greatest footballer: Cristiano Ronaldo. Showing his human side, Messi proceeded to do what we all do when we celebrate, get drunk. A video can be seen of a slightly inebriated Messi singing along as Barca celebrated an historic treble.

To come through the trials and tribulations he has had to face with a growth hormone deficiency that stopped him growing seems like a fairytale now for one of the world's best players and an established Argentine international.

He doesn't complain about contracts, doesn't demand more money and doesn't threaten to leave if something doesn't go right for him. His connection to Barcelona seems to deeper than that. The fact that the club was willing to pay his medical bills, as opposed to River Plate who pulled out a of a deal for this reason, shows Barcelona had faith in him, and Messi has most certainly repaid the club that gave him his chance to shine on the biggest of stages.

The debate continues as to who is the greatest and I think it is the coming season when the two players are competing in the same league, the same environment, that we will see who truly is...

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