November 16, 2003 – match to celebrate the opening of Dragon Stadium in Porto. It was Lionel Messi’s first-team debut. The man that is often seen as a god of modern football, who together with Cristiano Ronaldo, is one of two players competing regularly for the title of best player of the world and in all objectivity is the dominant player of the last 15 years according to most experts. At the club, everyone already knew that he is going to be successful. What came before his great success? How did he achieve this?
A computer science professor described him as a child without a willingness to learn. His french teacher said he didn’t do any work at her lessons. Cook of La Masia still rememberswhen he comes as the last one for dinner. Verón remembers that he resisted to get up from bed during the World Cup… Who would have thought that this lazy, shy boy would achieve so much and be compared to Pele and Diego Maradona, the hand of god, and score more than a hundred goals in the Champions League?
As a child, Leo suffered from a type of dwarfism, growth hormone deficiency. As a result of being notably shorter than his peers, he was very insular. At school he was ashamed to say a word or to buy something to eat, he had a friend and she was doing it for him. Because of the problems with communication and low self-esteem Leo was sent to the psychologist by his teacher. His friends didn’t call him “La Pulga” (Flea) but “Enano” (Dwarf). The cost of Leo’s treatment was a big obstacle to his dream of becoming a professional football player. Every day Messi had to inject himself a growth hormone which cost 1000$ per month – more than half of his father’s salary. A football school in Spain came to help. Messi was so good a player that “La Masia” proposed to him to cover half of the treatment’s cost that were necessary for him to grow. At the age of 13, he boarded the plane and went to Europe.
The separation from family was very hard for him, the agent recalls that he couldn’t stop crying. He was very delicate but when he played – he became combative. He often had injuries. His body is not as this of a typical football player, he has broad hips, short height, long torso, and short arms – his body requires custom-made projects. He was often the victim of his absent-mindedness – once he locked himself in the toilet and was late for Newell’s play-off, after arriving in Barcelona he broke his ankle while getting down the stairs. According to the report of FC Barcelona in August 2003, Messi was the most skillful player and the biggest sleepyhead of his year. There is a ritual that Messi is faithful to since childhood – every day after training in the club he takes a nap for about 3 hours.
His genius may be at the same time a danger to him. In his home city Rosario, Leo is always a potential victim of fanatics. In 2011 when he went out of a restaurant, one of the Rosario Central Club’s fans greeted him with his fist, right in the face. When Leo was supposed to play in the classic play-off with Real Madrid, someone opened fire on the house of his older brother. Media speculated that the incident had the aim to confuse Leo so it would take a toll on his play. Matías Messi, Leo’s elder brother, doesn’t show himself on TV or photos because, as he explains, it could be dangerous.
18 APRIL 2007 – KING’S CUP SEMI-FINAL. MESSI BREAKS A RECORD OF VIEWERSHIP ON YOUTUBE. THE GOAL HE SCORED IS COMPARED TO THE ONE THAT MARADONA SCORED – HIS CHILDHOOD IDOL.
21 DECEMBER 2009, ZURICH. MESSI BECOMES THE BEST FOOTBALL PLAYER OF THE World DURING THIS YEAR ACCORDING TO FIFA. HE GAINED THE PRIZE WITH THE BIGGEST AMOUNT OF POINTS IN HISTORY. IN THE NEXT TWO YEARS, HE WILL WIN ANOTHER TWO GOLD BALLS.
20 MARCH 2012, LEAGUE MATCH WITH GRANADA. MESSI MADE HATTRICK AND BECAME THE BEST GOALSCORER IN THE HISTORY OF THE CLUB.
Only on football Messi earns over 100 million euros annually and is considered to be the king of football. He is the role model and inspiration for many people. His story of the adrift boy who had problems with health, self-acceptance, and peers, who comes from a poor family gives many people hope for a better future. Nowadays, apart from resounding success, Messi has also a loving family – he is the father of 3 sons. Was it worth to fight for so many years? I suppose everyone knows the answer.