In the realm of football, where legends are born and greatness is etched into the annals of history, one name stands out with unparalleled brilliance: Lionel Messi. From the dusty streets of Rosario, Argentina, to the grandest stages of world football, Messi’s journey is not just a tale of skill and athleticism but a saga of determination, resilience, and unmatched talent. Today, as we reflect on his life’s journey, we will unravel Lionel Messi’s endeavors that have propelled him to his current position.

 

The Beginning

Lionel Messi was born in 1987 in Rosario, Argentina. His father, a former footballer himself, played a significant role in shaping Messi’s early years, fostering a natural affinity for the sport among Lionel and his siblings.

Despite differences in age and stature, young Messi dazzled his older brothers with his remarkable dribbling skills, catching the eye of his father, who recognized his exceptional talent.

lionel messi

One day, while watching a match with his grandmother and siblings, a player shortage led to a call for substitutes.

Despite concerns about his small stature and young age, Messi’s grandmother insisted that he be given a chance to play. Reluctantly, the coach agreed.

To everyone’s amazement, Messi outmaneuvered players several years his senior, even scoring a goal. His extraordinary ability to trap the ball, and dribble effortlessly earned him the title of prodigy, propelling him to stardom in Rosario.

Lionel Messi’s First Club

After joining Newell’s Old Boys, Messi’s skills continued to flourish. He rose through the ranks to such an extent that he earned the nickname “The Next Maradona,” reflecting his immense promise.

Scouts from various European clubs flocked to witness his talent, eager to catch a glimpse of this rising star.

 

 

Uh oh… Messi’s Tribulation

Lionel Messi’s journey was far from smooth sailing.

Despite his prodigious talent, his small stature raised concerns for his father, who took him to the hospital upon hearing news of Messi’s growth hormone deficiency.

 

Even with his undeniable talent, the professional football stage demanded physicality. So in pursuit of his dream of becoming a professional footballer, Messi endured daily growth hormone injections and concurrent treatments to address his condition. Though the process was arduous and painful, Messi persevered silently for the sake of his aspirations.

Another significant challenge was the financial burden of his treatment. Initially, Messi’s father relied on medical benefits from his modest job to cover the expenses.

However, when Argentina faced economic turmoil, both Messi’s family and his club, Newell’s Old Boys, struggled to support his treatment.

 

Desperate for assistance, Messi’s father sought help from European clubs, ultimately finding support from FC Barcelona, which not only provided financial aid for his treatment but also opened the doors to Messi’s illustrious career.

 

Rest is History….

Upon joining Barcelona, Messi continued to showcase his exceptional skills. However, Barcelona’s management initially had doubts about whether investing in Messi, despite his talent, was worth the significant treatment costs.

Yet, Carlos Rexach, Barcelona’s technical director at the time, vehemently insisted to the club president that Messi was an indispensable asset. In a crucial meeting with Messi’s father, Rexach hastily wrote out a contract on a napkin, emphasizing the urgency of securing Messi’s signature.

lionel messi napkin contract
Source: Marca

This now-famous “napkin contract” symbolizes the pivotal moment that laid the foundation for Messi’s career at Barcelona.

Barcelona’s Support:

  1. Lionel Messi’s medical expenses were fully covered.
  2. Support for Messi’s family’s residence.
  3. Guaranteed job placement for Messi’s father.

He showcased overwhelming skills even in Barcelona’s youth team, La Masia, outclassing other promising talents. This monstrous talent, coupled with Barcelona’s systematic management, synergized with Messi’s relentless efforts, further nurturing his growth.

Due to his growth hormone deficiency treatment, the club managed him with special care. Messi, amidst this nurturing environment, steadily progressed and finally made his debut for the first team at the age of 16 on November 16, 2003.

From the 2004/05 season, Messi trained with the first team.

Later, Messi became the cornerstone of Pep Guardiola’s team rebuilding project in the 2008/09 season, marking the beginning of an era of dominance. Barcelona showcased unprecedented strength during the 08/09 season, achieving an unprecedented sextuple and Messi, winning the Ballon d’Or, propelled himself into the realm of world-class players.

09/10 Season:

  • 47 goals

10/11 Season:

  • 55 goals

11/12 Season:

  • League: 50 goals
  • Season: 73 goals

Thus, Messi has ascended to an unrivaled presence, one that seems impossible to replicate.

 

To Everyone’s Suprise…

In 2021, Messi departed Barcelona after failing to reach a new contract agreement. At the time, Barcelona was on the brink of bankruptcy, and despite Messi expressing his willingness to stay for only 30% of his previous salary, Spanish labor laws mandated a minimum wage increase of over 50% from the previous year.

Leaving behind his beloved Barcelona, Messi faced one major unresolved task: winning the World Cup for his homeland, Argentina. While he had achieved everything in his club career and stood as a deity of football, Messi had faced misfortune with the national team, highlighting a glaring gap in his illustrious career.

World Cup:

  • 2006 Germany World Cup: Quarter-Finals (Loss)
  • 2010 South Africa World Cup: Quarter-Finals (Loss)
  • 2014 Brazil World Cup: Final (Loss)
  • 2018 Russia World Cup: Round of 16 (Loss)

Copa America:

  • 2007 – Runner-up
  • 2015 – Runner-up
  • 2016 – Runner-up

The Last Dance

After 17 years since Messi’s debut, the Argentina national team has seen promising youngsters grow into key players, inspired by Messi’s prime. They were determined to achieve victory for their idol Messi and their homeland, Argentina.

2021 Copa America:

Source: Goal.com
  • Final: vs Brazil (1-0 win)

 

2022 World Cup:

  • Round of 16: vs Australia (2-1 win)
  • Quarter Finals: vs Netherlands (win)
  • Semi-Finals: vs Croatia (3-0 win)
  • Finals: (win)

Thus, he crowned his career with a spectacular finale, winning his last World Cup and ascending to the throne of the greatest player of all time, bestowing upon himself an emperor’s coronation. In doing so, this great player, who had reigned as a football deity and dominated an era, adorned his final chapter with the grandeur of a World Cup triumph.

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