Even if you know nothing about football, you couldn’t have not heard of Lionel Messi. This individual has turned the football world upside down, and now he is rightfully considered the undisputed king of the sport.
Messi is an alien whom the football world has yet to encounter. One can have different opinions about him and his game, but denying his greatness and success is simply impossible. The Argentine is a monumental figure in the global sports arena, and there are no others like Messi, nor are likely to be. He is the only one who has won the most prestigious award in world football, the ‘Golden Ball,’ six times. He is a wonderful person, a wonderful family man, and a successful individual — and today we will share with you the story of his success. For more news from the world of sports and football, read Tribune, your news guide to the world of sports.
The childhood of the truly great Argentine was not what one might imagine. Almost as soon as he started walking, Lionel began chasing a ball around the field with his peers. Even at a very young age, his ability to handle the ball surpassed not only his peers but also many older kids. He owes this skill to his grandmother, as she was the one who first took the future football genius to a match. It is to her that Messi dedicates almost every goal he scores in the jerseys of ‘Barcelona’ or the Argentine national team today.
— When I was very young, we used to go to a small local club. All my brothers and cousins attended it. Each went to a different team because everyone was of a different age. There was no category for my age group yet, as I was one of the youngest. The guys born in 1985 and 1986 were already practicing. They were missing one more player in the lineup, and my grandmother told the coach to take me. ‘Well, how can I take him? He’s too little and can’t play,’ the coach refused. But my grandmother insisted on her point. Everyone in this club loved her, and the coach eventually gave me a chance to step onto the field. I scored probably two goals back then. I don’t even remember because I was still very little. This is a story my grandmother remembered and everyone in my family loves to tell.»
Not surprisingly, the innate talent of the young Argentine was immediately noticed by the best scouts of Argentine and European football clubs. But at one point, everything could change, and if not for the decision of the president of Barcelona, the football world probably would never have known about the Argentine. At the age of 10, the boy was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. The management of the Spanish giant, seeing Lionel in action, agreed to cover the expenses for treatment, and thus, signing a contract on a napkin, made perhaps the best decision in their history.
Ever since I was a little boy, I had to put in a lot of effort and sacrifice many things. I did all of this with just one simple goal — I had a dream to achieve success doing what I love the most in the world, and that was football. I came to Catalonia at the age of 13, and the only close person I had with me was my father. I missed home a lot. On the way from Argentina to Catalonia, I had to overcome a lot of psychological problems.»
Not just on the football field alone — Lionel Messi, in addition to all his accomplishments, is also a successful and happy family man. Like almost all footballers, he dated models, but they never attracted him as much as his childhood sweetheart, whom he later married. Now, the happy couple is raising three sons, and Lionel is perhaps the only successful footballer whose personal life has always been simple and untarnished.
The last time I cried was when my children were born. Since my first son was born, family has always been the top priority for me. Of course, I love what I do, I adore football, and I live for it, but family will always come first. My eldest son Thiago has shown a keen interest in football, and very often, after tough and unpleasant defeats, it’s hard for me to hold back my emotions in front of him. But he understands everything; he doesn’t talk about it with me because he understands how I suffer from defeats. As for Mateo, he doesn’t care at all; he can even cheer for my opponents [laughs]. But no matter how bitter the defeat, my sons and their mother are my happiness.
When I won my first Ballon d’Or at 22, it was something unreal for me; I hadn’t even tried to imagine such a thing. Since then, a lot has changed, but one thing remains constant – I continue to evolve and dream. I strive to make myself better every day. And every day, I draw endless joy from what I do, from football. I am grateful to God that I can do what I love. If God gives me a few more years, I will continue to do this, I will continue to enjoy it. Time flies very fast, and I don’t know how much time I have left, but I don’t plan to stop.