The Great Men's Cross 7: Lionel Messi 1

Lionel Messi

It has been interesting so far on the series The Great Men’s Cross, right from the story of Ben Carson, Jack Ma, to Albert Einstein and then Bill GatesSteve Jobs and Les Brown. So far, their stories have been challenging and have inspired so many from the testimonies shared with us. You can also drop your comments and as well share it so others can benefit. We decided also to give a shot at sports and build up a challenging story on Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo who had very rough beginning.
In few days, we will study the life of the two and learn from them. For every great position in life, there is a greater challenge for that purpose. This article will focus on Lionel Messi, who grew up in a slum and had health problem when he was young. It might have appeared that there was no opportunity for such people in football due to height deficiency and deteriorating health, but his dreams and aspirations were more important than his problems. He later became a five-time winner of the Ballon d’Or and has continued to dominate the world of football with the hope that this will not end soon.



Also, many wondered while Messi refused to leave Barca and always claim to be comfortable and feel at home. Comparing with Cristiano Ronaldo who has had time at Portugal (Sporting CP), England (Manchester United), Spain (Real Madrid), and currently trades in Italy (Juventus), Messi has refused to betray the honesty and support Barca gave to him at his time of need and he has decided to repay Barca in their own coin. This article will shed more light why Messi has remained at Barca and might not leave soon. Let us learn from Lionel Andres Messi Cuccittini.

Lionel Messi: The Loyal Barcelona Hero
Lionel Messi is an Argentine footballer who has gone professional both as a forward and a captain to both the Argentinian and Barcelona team. Aside being considered the best player in the world, he is also regarded as one of the best and greatest players that have graced the game of the round leather. Messi consecutively won the Ballon d’Or four times out of the five he had.
He has spent his entire professional club career in Barcelona and has won a total of 33 trophies which includes nine La Liga titles, six Copa del Rey and four UEFA Champions League titles.

Early years
Lionel Andres Cuccittini Messi was born on 24 June, 1987 in Rosario, Argentina. Messi was the third out of four children to a steel factory manager father, Jorge Messi and the mother Celia Cuccittini, who used to work in a magnet manufacturing shop.

While growing up, Leo developed an interest in football at a very young age and he played with his elder brothers constantly. When Messi was four, he joined Grandoli, a local club in Argentina where his own father coached him. Messi was inspired to play football by his grandmother because she follows him to his training and matches. 

Before Messi was 11, he lost his grandmother and this greatly affected him. Since the incidence, anytime Messi scores, he celebrates his goals looking up and points to the sky to pay a tribute to his grandmother (so you know now why Messi points and looks up when he scores).



His challenges
Messi has been a lifelong supporter of Newell’s Old Boys and he joined the club when he was just six. He played for the club for six years during which he scored close to 500 goals. Unfortunately, at age 10, Messi had a devastating blow to his professional career; Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. 
At this time, his father health insurance was only able to cater for two years growth hormone treatment; at a cost of $1,000 per month. Messi’s club, Newell’s Old Boys promised to help him and contribute to the payment but they failed on their promise. River Plate also showed interest in Messi’s footballing ability but were not able to help on his treatment due to the country’s economic setback.

The Jackpot
Since Messi’s family had relatives in Catalonia, Spain, they decided to go for a trial in Barcelona in September 2000. Charly Rexach, the Barcelona’s first team coach then quickly wanted to sign him but the board would not allow him because of Messi’s young age.

On 14 December, Messi’s family issued an ultimatum to Barcelona to sign him or forget it and the senior coach Rexach seeing no other paper around him had to use a napkin to sign Messi to Barcelona.
Read thisWhat can Stop Me
The Journey
February 2001, the family moved to Barcelona and lived beside the stadium, Camp Nou. Messi couldn’t play with age mates because of the transfer issues and he found it hard to integrate into the team without playing football with them; an already reserved guy. Due to Messi’s calm and silent nature, his teammates thought he was dumb.



Messi stayed a year at Barcelona’s youth academy, La Masia before he was finally enrolled in the Spanish Football Federation in February 2002. Since he could now play in all the competitions, he started making friends most especially Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique.

With the help of Barca, Messi was able to complete his hormone treatment at age 14 and later became a very important part of the ‘Baby Dream Team’, the Barcelona’s greatest ever youth side (now you know why Messi is loyal to Barca; they also worship him there).
Get Hungry for Success
In his first season (2002-03), he was the top scorer with 36 goals out of 30 games in the Cadetes A where they won the treble. He was injured before a final match against Espanyol and was allowed to play if only he would wear a plastic protector. At the middle of the game, he became uncomfortable with the mask and had to take it off. 
Lionel Messi

Just after he did, he scored two goals in 10 minutes before he was substituted.
At the end of the season, Arsenal came with an offer for him which was his first from a foreign club. At that time, Pique and Fabregas left for England but Messi chose to stay in Barcelona.......continue at The Great Men's Cross: Lionel Messi 2
You can read this: It couldn't have been my Fault
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