For proponents of the Messi debate, the playmaker is nothing short of a football god. Born Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini, the diminutive playmaker is an absolute master of his trade, a magician who gets even the most towering and ruthless footballers melting at his feet.
The star did not start out as bright as he is today. It was discovered that he had a growth deficiency as he approached teenage, at which point Barcelona offered to take him from his home country of Argentina, take him to Spain and pay for his treatment.
The wonderkid repaid the club’s faith with fast progress through their academy ranks to make a senior debut in 2004. Although he suffered injuries early into the career, he soon established himself in the team and won the Ballon d’Or at 22.
He has been at the centre of every single one of Barcelona’s campaigns since then, winning all trophies on offer- Club World cup, Uefa Champions’ League, Copa Del Rey, La Liga etc- and racking up numerous individual accolades in the process. He has shared the Ballon d’Or with Cristiano Ronaldo for the previous decade. All this he appears to do effortlessly, something that makes him likeable to both lovers and rivals of Barcelona. As of the 2018 season, Messi was the captain of both Barcelona and the Argentina national team.
Messi has, despite being a master of his trade and surrounded by a host of talent, been unable to achieve major success with his home country Argentina. They have always fallen short at both the World Cup and the Copa America.
The closest he came to national glory was the 2014 World Cup when they finished as runners up in Brazil thanks to a 1-0 loss to Germany. These failures have often frustrated Messi and prompted him to go into retirement several times, although he is almost always convinced to come back by fans and management.