Famous Football Player: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Argentina’s Lionel Messi is considered by many to be one of the best footballers of this generation. Only 23 years old, Messi plays for Barcelona as well as for his native Argentine National Team. While some consider Messi to be the world’s best contemporary player, perhaps it is his own hero, Diego Maradona, whose praise means most. Though some have openly drawn comparisons between Messi and Maradona as far as style and sheer ability, Maradona was the one who publicly stated Messi would be his successor.
At only 16, Messi broke the La Liga record for youngest player in a league game and youngest player to score. Even though he was a rookie, Messi played a big role in helping Barcelona win La Liga during his first season. During the 2006/2007 Season, Lionel Messi became a first team player on a regular basis and even pulled off the much-coveted “hat trick” in the El Clasico. Then, in 2008/2009, he scored 38 goals and won his first Olympic Gold Medal playing with the Argentine Team when Beijing hosted the 2008 Olympics.
While still far from being a “seasoned veteran” of the game, Messi has racked up an impressive list of personal accomplishments. Among his many awards and accolades he includes:
• Under 21 – European Footballer of the Year (2007)
• FIFA World Player of The Year (2009)
• European Footballer of the Year (2009)
• FIFA Team of the Year (2008 and 2009)
• European Golden Shoe (2010)
• Champions League Player/Forward/Top Scorer of the Year (2009) – UEFA
• La Liga Player of the Year (2009 and 2010)
• World Soccer Player of the Year (2009)
• World Soccer Young Player of the Year 2006, 2007 and 2008
• FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball (2009)
With the bulk of Messi’s career still ahead of him, doubtlessly the long list will continue to grow as he hones and tunes the skills as well as the natural abilities that have already skyrocketed him to soccer superstardom.