16 November 2003 – This was the day when the world witnessed a star in the making. Aged 16 and four months, the young Argentine Lionel Messi was introduced on the pitch against Jose Mourinho’s FC Porto and the then Barcelona trickster Ronaldinho predicted the future.
He would go on to become a better than himself – claimed the Brazilian sensation and the rest, as they say, is history.
Born in Argentina to a father of Spanish heritage and mother of Italian descent, Messi was destined to reach the summit. At the tender age of 13, the Argentine decided to move to Barcelona and the Catalonians decided to treat his deficiency of the growth of hormones.
The talent was spotted and Messi went on to progress through the ranks and eventually established himself as a worthy candidate to represent the club at senior level. With is exploits while his time with the development squad being the prominent factor in his career, many first team players urged their then manager Frank Rijkaard to promote the young Argentine and eventually at the age of 17 years and three months, Messi became the youngest player to ever to have ever represent the Catalan club in an official tournament.
Messi had what it takes to become a biggie and there was no denying the fact that he would went on to become the next big thing in sport. After legalizing al the working permits, the Argentine then established himself as a regular starter in 2005 and played alongside the famous attacking duo of Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto’o.
He had his ups and downs, as a torn hamstring in 2006 against Chelsea ruled him out for most of the season, but his never give up attitude was spot on.
As soon as Ronaldinho departed, Messi was given the number 10 shirt and soon after it the escapade began. With Pep Guardiola’s arrival, the experiments started and for the first time Messi’s career, he played as a false nine and that, fortunately for both Pep and Messi, worked wonders and the Argentine went on to score a brilliant header against Manchester United to hand his team the Champions League crown and with that, the Blaugrana treble was achieved.
There is so much to talk about and to cut the long story short, during his strenuous career, he has gone on to become the best player to have ever graced the footballing pitch, and no one can deny that. Eight La Liga titles, four Champions League crowns, three UEFA Super Cup, five Ballon d’Or and what not – Messi has won all the possible titles a footballer can ever win on a club level and this speaks volume.
Known for his sheer brilliance and astronomic intelligence, Messi is and will remain one of the best players to have ever played this beautiful sport. He isn’t the strongest one of all, but his tactical genius makes it up all the time. He is the player who breathes football and lives for the game – and with all hands up, Lionel Messi – take a bow.