2014 FIFA World Cup
Messi, Argentina’s goal scoring phenom and captain. This 2014 FIFA World Cup has been quite exciting, especially with literal last minute goals scored by Lionel Messi. He has been integral in all of Argentina’s matches, making passes, tackles and scoring goals.
Today, lets take a closer look at ace Portugal footballer Lionel Messi.
Lionel Andrés Messi is an Argentine footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club FC Barcelona and the Argentina national team. He serves as the captain of his country’s national football team.
By the age of 21, Messi had received Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations. The following year, in 2009, he won his first Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. He followed this up by winning the inaugural FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2010, and then again in 2011 and 2012. He also won the 2010–11 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. At the age of 24, Messi became Barcelona’s all-time top scorer in all official club competitions. At age 25, Messi became the youngest player to score 200 goals in La Liga.
Commonly ranked as the best player in the world and rated by some in the sport as the greatest of all time, Messi is the first football player in history to win four FIFA/Ballons d’Or, all of which he won consecutively, as well as the first to win three European Golden Shoe awards. With Barcelona, Messi has won six La Ligas, two Copas del Rey, five Supercopas de España, three UEFA Champions Leagues, two UEFA Super Cups and two Club World Cups.
Messi is the first and only player to top-score in four consecutive Champions League campaigns, and also holds the record for the most hat-tricks scored (4) in the competition. In March 2012, Messi made Champions League history by becoming the first player to score five goals in one match. He also matched José Altafini‘s record of 14 goals in a single Champions League season. Messi set the European record for most goals scored in a season during the 2011–12 season, with 73 goals. In the same season, he set the current goalscoring record in a single La Liga season, scoring 50 goals. Also in that season, Messi became the first player ever to score and assist in six different official competitions in one season. On 16 February 2013, Messi scored his 300th Barcelona goal. On 30 March 2013, Messi scored in his 19th consecutive La Liga game, becoming the first footballer in history to net in consecutive matches against every team in a professional football league. He extended his record scoring streak to 21 consecutive league matches, and the run came to a halt only when he sustained a hamstring injury. In March 2014, with a hat-trick against Real Madrid, Messi became the player with most goals and most hat-tricks in the history of El Clásico.
Messi helped Argentina win the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup, finishing as both the best player and the top scorer (with 6 goals). In 2006, he became the youngest Argentine to play and score in the FIFA World Cup, and won a runners-up medal at the Copa América in 2007, in which he was named young player of the tournament. In 2008, he won an Olympic Gold Medal with the Argentina Olympic football team. In 2013, SportsPro rated him the second-most marketable athlete in the world. His playing style and stature have drawn comparisons to compatriot Diego Maradona, who himself declared Messi his “successor“.
Messi has been compared to compatriot Diego Maradona, due to their similar playing style and stature, which gives him a lower centre of gravity than most players, allowing him to be more agile and change direction more quickly, helping him to evade tackles. His short, strong legs allow him to excel in short bursts of acceleration and his quick feet allow him to keep control of the ball when dribbling at speed. His former FC Barcelona manager, Pep Guardiola, once stated: “Messi is the only player that runs faster with the ball than he does without it.” Like Maradona before him, Messi is predominantly a left footed player. With the outside of his left foot, he usually begins dribbling runs, whilst he uses the inside of his foot to finish and provide passes and assists to team mates. Alongside Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi is widely regarded as one of the two best players in the world of his generation, and as one of the best players of all time.
Messi often undertakes individual dribbling runs towards goal, in particular during counterattacks, usually starting from the halfway line, or the right side of the pitch, although he has also been described as a versatile team player, with good vision, known for his passing and his creative combinations, in particular with Barcelona team mates Xavi and Iniesta. He is also an accurate set piece and penalty kick taker. With regards to his dribbling ability, Maradona has said of Messi: “The ball stays glued to his foot; I’ve seen great players in my career, but I’ve never seen anyone with Messi’s ball control.” Maradona has stated that he believes Messi to currently be the greatest player in the world.
Tactically, Messi plays a free attacking and occasionally a playmaking role, known for his finishing, pace, dribbling, balance, positioning, vision and passing ability. He is comfortable attacking on either wing or through the centre of the pitch. He began his career as a left-winger and forward, but was later moved onto the right wing by former manager Frank Rijkaard, who noticed that from this position, Messi could cut through the defense into the middle of the pitch more easily, allowing him to curl shots on goal with his left foot, rather than predominantly crossing balls for team mates. He has more recently played in a false 9 role under Guardiola. This role is characterized by Messi’s tendency to seemingly be playing as a centre forward, or as a lone striker, although he will often run back into deep positions drawing defenders with him, creating space for wingers, other forwards, and attacking midfielders to make runs, allowing him to provide them with assists or giving him space to begin dribbling runs, score goals or create attacking plays. With the Argentinian National team, Messi usually plays anywhere along the front line. He began as a forward or winger but has also played in a deeper role, in particular under Maradona, in more of an attacking midfield and playmaking role.