A deep-seated historical tension has long characterized the rivalry between two of the world’s greatest national football teams: La Albiceleste and Oranje. This animosity finds its roots in the 1978 FIFA World Cup, which unfolded on the passionate grounds of Argentina.
However, amidst this rivalry, the illustrious Johan Cruyff found himself compelled to acknowledge the emergence of a young player from the streets of Rosario, destined to inscribe his name indelibly in the annals of football history. “Messi will undoubtedly be the player to amass the most Ballon d’Or accolades in history,” prophesied Cruyff. “He shall secure not five or six but perhaps seven.” Little did he know that Lionel Messi would go on to seize this prestigious honor eight times, surpassing even his loftiest expectations.
Yet, Messi’s career unfolded like a mesmerizing cinematic epic, an opus composed of eight compelling acts. After each chapter, he ascended the grandest stage, akin to an actor winning the coveted Oscar Prize, his performances nothing short of sublime. In this Argentinian prodigy, Cruyff had discerned a star, and his foresight in this matter remains a testament to his innate understanding of the beautiful game.
Messi’s Moments to Shine… an Alien Made his Debut
The UFO that Messi came with from Argentina landed in Barcelona. However, his first game with the team was against José Mourinho’s FC Porto on November 16, 2003. A friendly game was organized to pay tribute to the new stadium capacity of the Portuguese Blue Dragons. Even though the Catalans lost the game, coincidentally, another Dutch former player was coaching FC Barcelona.
Frank Rijkaard put his trust in a young player coming from the youth team. That night in Porto had 15 minutes, which was enough to show the world a sign of a player who would be the next Julius Caesar in football’s history.
One year later, on October 16, 2004, In front of 34,000 fans attendance, therefore, in the Derby game Catalans rivals, Espagnol. The inimitability of Messi started at the age of 17 years, three months, and 22 days. Bearing in his back a No. 30 shirt, and in the 82nd minute, he replaced the former Portuguese footballer, Deco.
During the 1-0 win, Messi didn’t score or assist any goals. Nonetheless, his brief appearance on the pitch was enough to convince the Brazilian superstar, Ronaldinho, that Messi would eventually become the greatest football player of all time.
2009, Messi’s Fruitful Year
Lionel Messi’s quest for the illustrious “Ballon d’Or” commenced a full two years before his maiden victory in 2009. In the editions of 2007 and 2008, he emerged as a prominent contender for the prestigious accolade. Regrettably, in 2007, he settled for third place, as Kaká claimed the zenith of honors and Cristiano Ronaldo secured the runner-up position.
The year 2008 marked a notable ascent for Messi, propelling him to the second position, a close pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo, who clinched the prize. It was during the 2008/09 season that Messi, under the stewardship of Pep Guardiola, orchestrated his magnum opus. Remarkably, at the tender age of 21, Messi delivered an unforgettable performance, amassing 23 goals and orchestrating 13 assists in La Liga. Additionally, he netted an additional 6 goals in the Copa Del Rey.
Furthermore, his contribution extended to the UEFA Champions League, with a commendable tally of 9 goals and 5 assists during the 08/09 season. These remarkable statistics propelled the diminutive 1.70-meter figure to the summit of goal-scoring charts in both leagues while securing the title of the second-highest assist provider in the Spanish league. Notably, it was the astute guidance of Pep Guardiola that meticulously shaped Messi’s prodigious talents, culminating in Barcelona’s historic achievement of the first-ever treble in the club’s storied history.
The two years leading up to 2009 saw Lionel Messi gearing up for what is coming, playing a final against Manchester United Legends. Facing his all-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time. In addition to the Scottish brainiac Alex Ferguson, who was the pilot of the Red Devils. During that match, Messi’s performance made Ferguson forget to check his watch.
The Argentinian international kissed his shoes when he fled to score a header against the 1.99-meter Dutch giant goalkeeper, Edwin Van Der Sar. The calendar year 2009 did not stop on the treble. Messi and Barcelona spread their magic and secured all three other possible trophies, adding to their legacy. A sextuple the world will never forget about.
Messi’s cream-of-the-crop performance earned the admiration of 96 journalists from around the world, who cast their votes in his favor. He went from zero to hero status, securing 473 out of 480 possible points, far ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, who held the second position with 233 points. Magical record.
Another Season, Another Challenge… Another Magic From the G.O.A.T
The following year, 2010, was completely different, the France Football Ballon d’Or Gala and FIFA awards collaborated. For players, it became hard for them to gain this award because not only journalists voted but also all international teams’ coaches and their captains. Therefore, during that year, there was the nineteenth edition of The World Cup hosted in one of Alkebulan’s countries for the first time, South Africa.
Throughout that year, FC Barcelona faced difficulties as a team. On the other hand, as individuals, the Blaugranes players had a successful year. In the Champions League, the Vipers of Milan, led by José Mourinho, eliminated Pep’s Barcelona in the semi-finals.
Additionally, Sevilla knocked Barcelona out of the Copa Del Rey in the Round of 16. Despite these setbacks, Barcelona’s season survived as they clinched the La Liga title. Notably, the little man played 53 games, in which he scored 47 goals in all competitions with 12 assists. Messi scored three hattricks in the Spanish league and a magnificent comeback against Arsenal FC, scoring four goals in the second leg, leading Barcelona to the semi-finals.
2010 was a symphony of accomplishments, with each note resonating in harmony. Four nominees sang a song with their talents in each game and competition in which they competed. Leonel Messi, Andréas Iniesta, Xavi, and Wesley Sneijder, these players ranked in the top 4 of the list in consecutive order.
Shattering Records… Gert Müller and Michel Platini
For 40 years, Gert Müller held the record for the most goals scored in a single calendar year, with 85 goals. Then, on January 1st, 2012, the little boy from Rosario arrived and pushed the boundaries beyond imagination.
By December 31st, 2012, rolled around, he had scored an astounding 91 goals – 12 of them with Argentina and the rest with Barcelona. The train of Rosario went by France, breaking another record.
Platini won 3 Ballons d’Or in a row, and Messi redefined the limits, his displays were awarded another Ballon d’Or. Despite a transformative season for Barcelona, in which they managed to secure La Liga. Like Gregor Samsa in Kafka’s short story, Barcelona was completely in a changing mode. Facing many obstacles. However, Messi, like Sisyphus, took it on his shoulders to help his team achieve what he hoped for. That is what makes him spontaneously hungry for personal achievements.
A Phoenix Came Back From Ashes
The aftermath of Barcelona’s changes was part and parcel of what affected Messi’s career in the following years. Even so, he made personal success in 2013. Therefore, he had hard days with his national team. Finishing as runners-up of the World Cup 2014.
This led to criticism and doubts about his performance with the Argentinian national team. Despite that, for two years, he was among the top three on the Ballon d’Or list. Cristiano Ronaldo was ahead, and Messi was in second place.
2013–2014 were the years when Messi broke down to ashes. 2015 was the year when he came back extraordinary, securing another treble with FC Barcelona’s Enrique in a season. With two other titles in their basket, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup, Making it five titles in one year.
Changing Home… The Prophecy Bore Fruit
No one could believe that Messi would leave his home one day. Barcelona fans were not ready yet. Messi’s tears were hard to take for everyone. Messi’s tears were difficult for everyone to bear. Paris was where he changed his mentality. Wearing the No. 30 on his back, he carried with him all the unforgettable memories associated with that number. However, Messi made the Argentinians re-establish their trust in him after defeating Brazil at Maracanã Stadium. Securing its first major title since 1993 and the first major international crown for Lionel Messi.
Messi went to Paris not only to play with Paris Saint-Germain but also to collect his seventh “Ballon d’Or” award. Leading the shortlist of nominees with 613 votes. His season crowned again, even if La Pulga faced obstacles in his last minutes in Spain.
The transfer to France made Ligue 1 lucky to witness the greatness of Messi. His time in Paris was part of creating a monster, the player who will accomplish perfection. He is the one whose playing style can be seen by the blind. His drillings’ pleased his rivals. And whose name is heard by the deaf. The steed, the night, and the desert all know him. As do the sword, the spear, Messi with a ball.
Messi came to the football world with Caesar’s mindset. “Veni Vidi Vici”, he came, he saw, and he conquered. Messi’s career is set to be on edge. The player reached his peak, and if there were a history book, we could document what has transpired each decade.
The words that initiate Messi’s campaign would be written in italics to see what is coming after each stop. Therefore, Cruyff and Maradona would rejoice in witnessing such a dramatic ending, where a guy reaches the pinnacle of excellence.
The awaited triumph, World Cup, finally accepted the willingness of Messi to be part of his achievements. Messi scored in each game of the tournament, being the man of every game.