The Great Men's Cross 7: Lionel Messi 3

According to the Newell’s Old Boys youth coach testimony on Messi when he was 12, ‘When you see him, you would think he can’t play ball. He is such a dwarf, very fragile and too small. However, you would just know that he was born different, he is a phenomenon and he would be something great’. Also, the assistant coach of Barcelona then, Henk Ten Cate on Messi when he made his first debut, ‘It is as if Messi has been playing ball with us all his life’.

Messi helped Barca to achieve her first treble when he scored a brace aginst Bayern Munich and helped Barca in the final against Manchester United in 2009 by providing an assist and scoring a header past Edwin Van der Sar. This made Barca upgrade his contract by increasing his salary to €12 million and his buyout clause to 250 million. Barca’s successes were resounding at that moment and they were feared all over Europe. 
Also at the time, Barca achieved the sextuple by winning six trophies in a single year. At the age of 22, Messi won his first Ballon d’Or and also the FIFA World Player of the Year with the highest ever margin recorded.

Messi scored all of Barcelona’s four goals against Arsenal led by Arsene Wenger in the Champions League quarter final making him the highest goal scorer of the competition for that year. Arsene Wenger had this to say about Messi, ‘Messi is like a PlayStation. He is the world’s best player by distance. For every mistake we made, Messi would take an advantage’.

Reward for Hardwork
His performance for the season earned him another FIFA Ballon d’Or, which was an amalgamation of the FIFA World Player of the year and Ballon d’Or. Messi later went on to become the Barcelona’s single season top scorer ever and also the first player to score 50-goal in a season of La Liga. As time went on, Messi became a number 8 (creator), a number 9 (scorer) and a number 10 (assistant). In the 2011/2012 season, Messi scored 73 goals and provided 229 assists in all competitions for the club.
Due to his efforts, he won another Ballon d’Or the following year and this made him the fourth player in history to win the award three times after Johan Cruyff, Michael Platini and Marco Van Basten. Everyone started calling him the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) and is being compared with Diego Maradona and Pele.

Exploits of 2012
Messi did what no one ever did by being the first player to score 5 goals in a match in the Champions League against Bayer Leverkusen. Messi also finished the season as the highest goal scorer in the league and in Europe for the second time with 50 goals and he also surpassed Gerd Muller’s 67 goals record with his 73 strikes in all competitions.

Under Tito Vilanova, Messi helped Barca to make a record of 55 points at the middle of the league which has never happened before in La Liga. His brace against Real Betis made Messi pass the record set be Cesar Rodriguez as the league’s all-time goal scorer with 190 goals and and Gerd’s Muller record of the highest goals scored in a calendar year by overtaking his 85 goals.
Respect those before you
After Messi broke the record set by Gerd Muller in 1967 for Bayern Munich and Germany, Messi sent him a Barcelona shirt with number 10 and signed on it, ‘with respect and admiration’ after seeing the end to his 40 year old record. By the end of the year, Messi scored whooping 91 goals in all the competitions he featured for Barcelona and Argentina which became a record to beat.

Though the record wasn’t recognized by FIFA, the Guinness World Records recognized this feat and awarded him for the most goals scored in a calendar year. After this, Messi was awarded another Ballon d’Or and he became the only player to have swept the award four times and consecutively.

After the stunning display of Messi against PSG in a 1 – 1 draw when Messi came from bench to bail Barca out, Pique had this to say about Messi, ‘When we talk about Messi, we talk about the best player in world. When things go wrong, you just have to use Messi. Should he be half lame, his presence on the pitch could just be enough to lift the team and their play’. If Barca had lost the game, they would have exited the competition very early.

Something Amiss
Messi’s injury recurred in 2013 and he started having problems especially when he parted ways with his physiotherapist. He had a hamstring injury at the time and he couldn’t score like before, also, his performance dropped but was able to become the first player to score in a consecutive 19 matches in La Liga.
He also finished as the league and Europe’s top scorer with 46 goals in La Liga and 60 goals in all competitions. This made him the first player to ever win the European Golden Shoe three times.

You don’t win all
Under coach Martino, Messi suffered another injury when he tore his hamstring and had to be on bench for two months. This caused a dent to his Ballon d’Or chase and was voted second, losing the award to Cristiano Ronaldo after a four-year monopoly of the award.
Messi got a pay-rise in 2014 to 20 million after tax is removed making him the highest played player in football.

Other Records
Under Coach Luis Enrique, Messi was injury free and broke more records. First, a hat-trick against Sevilla in 2014-15 season made him the highest goal scorer ever in La Liga, beating Telmo Zarra’s 9-year old record of 251 goals. Three days later, a hat-trick against APOEL made him overtake Raul’s 71 goals in the Champions League...continue at  Great Men's Cross: Lionel Messi 4
Check this: Banana Republic: Fiefdom and not Freedom

You are the owner and solely responsible for your own life, dreams, aspirations, problems and troubles. You can become whatever you want, but be ready to fight for what you want. Your dream makes you and is the evidence for your being alive, the day your dreams become unachievable, you become a spirit and no more a man.

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  1. God bless you sir. Its amazing to note that one can still rise despite several falls. I am blessed and am not giving up.