Lionel Messi: The true goat
From a tender age, Argentine professional footballer Lionel Andres Messi took the football world by storm. With his electrifying pace, unique dribbles, top-notch passes, deadly finishes, and ability to read the game well, Lionel was always a nightmare for every defender, as it seemed impossible to keep him out of the game.
Messi started his senior football career with Barcelona after coming through their youth system. He had his first competitive debut with Barcelona in 2004 at 17 and would see himself rise through the squad ranks until he became the greatest player to wear the Barcelona shirt.
Lionel Messi started making his name known at an early age. He scored his first career hat trick at 19 in a 3-3 thrilling encounter with Real Madrid. After that, Messi became the all-time goal scorer in El Clasico with 26 goals. He could only move his performances into a higher gear as he grew older, and it wasn’t a surprise that he won his first Ballon d’Or at 22. Despite his fierce rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi would go ahead to win the next 3 Ballon d’Or making him the first player to win four consecutive Ballon d’Or. Over the years, Lionel Messi has won a record total of seven Ballon d’Or compared with Cristiano Ronaldo’s 5, who sits second on the list.
Messi’s time in Barcelona was trophy-laden years, winning a total of 35 during his spell. He won 10 La Liga titles, 7 Copa del Rey, 8 Supercopa de Espana, 4 UEFA Champions League, 3 UEFA Super Cup, and 3 FIFA Club World Cup. Barcelona’s financial struggle in 2021 would see Messi leave the club so dare his heart to Paris Saint German (PSG). Despite struggling to adapt to Ligue 1 in his first season with PSG, he won the league title and Trophee des Champions in 2022. Lionel Messi is enjoying football again this season as his performance is back to his best. He seems to be ageing like a fine wine.
The PSG forward has a trademark of breaking records, and he broke many records during his spell at Barcelona. Lionel Messi is currently the all-time top scorer in La Liga and Barcelona. 2012 was a year Lionel would never forget in his career as he scored a staggering 91 goals in a single year, ended the La Liga season with 50 goals, and also set the record for most goals in a single season in the history of European club football. Many would refer to the year as a record-breaking year.
The Argentine Captain had a rough time with Argentina when many doubted his commitment to the national team. Despite his massive success in club football, Lionel Messi couldn’t win a trophy for the national team and lost in a couple of Copa America finals and the 2014 World Cup Final against Germany.
After retiring and returning to the team due to the disappointments, Lionel would finally win a trophy for the national team in the 2021 Copa America final against Brazil. He finished the tournament as the best player and highest goal scorer award. It wouldn’t take long for Messi to add to Argentina’s trophy by leading his team to a 3-0 victory over Italy in the Finalissima, A match between Copa America and EURO winners.
As of November 2022, Lionel Messi had accumulated a total of 41 trophies which makes him sit second on the list, while his former teammate Daniel Alves sits first with 43. But despite these massive achievements, the most coveted cup by any player in the world (FIFA World Cup) was still missing from his trophy cabinet. After a shocking opening defeat to Saudi Arabia, Argentina won the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup against France in a penalty shoot-out. Lionel Messi’s two goals in the final took his World tally to 13. His performance in the tournament would see him win the best player for a record second time and also the most capped player.
The 7 goals scored in the World Cup took his tally for the national team to 98, making him the all-time leading scorer for Argentina and South America’s team. Having won it all, Lionel Andres Messi has undisputedly staked his name as the Greatest of All Time.
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