Fútbol Has Many Superheroes, Messi Is One of Them

BY: 
Rachel
 | December 19, 2022

Credit: Nuestro Stories

As we mentally replay the heated World Cup final game between France and Argentina – we wanted to talk about the origin story of one of fútbol’s brightest stars and most powerful talents, Lionel Messi. 

With Messi’s ability to fly across the field at the speed of light, his propensity to shoot goals with the precision of a sharpshooter, and his winning record, Messi is a modern-day superhero – and every superhero has an origin story.

Read more: The Best Latino Players at the 2022 World Cup

The legend, the greatest of all time, Messi

Luis Lionel Andres Messi was born in Rosario, Argentina in 1987, to a father who had a deep love of fútbol. So deep in fact, that he, himself, coached the Grandoli club’s team. It was on his father’s team that Messi showed an otherworldly talent for the sport at the early age of five. He played for Grandoli before moving to Newell’s Old Boys team. His talents were showing every sign that Messi would become a great player in the history of the sport.

As with every superhero, Messi faced a nearly life-altering obstacle, when at the age of 11 he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. One that required extensive (and extremely expensive) medical treatment. The treatment was far beyond the means of Messi’s parents, who lived a content but modest life. Messi and his parents hedged their bets on his talent, and not long after the diagnosis, they moved to Spain in order to give Lionel the opportunity to try out for Barca. The team couldn’t deny the talent that they saw in Messi, and at the age of 13, was signed to the youth team of Barça’s franchise with the agreement that they would pay for any medical treatments he needed. By the time he was 18, Messi was on the full international team. 

A year later, Messi, who had earned the moniker “El Nuevo Maradona” made quite a few heads turn and scream utter from fans’ mouths, as he took on nearly the entire Getafe team, ran half the length of the field, cut through multiple players and made a side slice goal that was amazing to watch. It was during a time when Messi was coming into his own, truly making a mark on the Barça team – and earning his comparison to Maradona. In fact, the goal has been voted the best goal in Barcelona history, one of the best goals in fútbol history, and has often been compared to “Maradona’s Goal of the Century.” 

Over the course of his career, Messi has constantly grown, matured, and made his mark on the world of fútbol. While he certainly had rough patches and unpleasant moments, Messi continues to be one of the top goal-scorers in the world and one of the most important players in the game. Messi overcame adversity to become a living legend.

Yesterday, his legendary status was further heightened. Every challenge he ever faced made sense as he, alongside his talented teammates, won the World Cup. His performance was rewarded with not one, but two World Cup Golden Ball awards, making him the first male soccer player to accomplish this. Not only that,  he surpassed Pelé’s World Cup record, and that was definitely not an easy feat.

Though this win was for Argentina, his home team, and Latinos all over the world, it was mainly a testament to Messi’s brilliance. Now, Messi will be remembered as one of the greats just like Pelé, Maradona, and Neymar, among others.

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Featured image is from the image Hoja Suelta, by José Guadalupe Posada, 1901.
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