HomeBarcelonaLionel Messi: The era's finest architect

Lionel Messi: The era’s finest architect

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Football — “the world’s sport,” as it’s adoringly called — has the invaluable quality of finding peace amidst the chaos.

It gives us solitude in the middle of a raging war, brings people together even when they have no intention to.

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All it takes is a rectangular park, some willing participants, and an air-filled sphere to kick off the party.

Since its inception, the game has graced with some generational talents, players who have defined seasons, years, and even decades.

From the great Pele to the magnificent Diego Maradona — it’s hard to choose the greatest player of all time.

However, if we tweak the search parameters and only focus on the last decade or two, one imposing five-footer comes out on top, even eclipsing his physically-imposing nemesis, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Lionel Messi – The sensation

Lionel Messi made his Barcelona senior team debut in the 2004-05 campaign at the age of 17 against Catalan rivals, Espanyol.

Although he didn’t score a goal in his eight-minute cameo, we believe he has done his fair share to compensate for his “bland” debut in the next 15 years.

Any football fan in the world knows how successful the Argentina international has been. He has scored against almost every team, won every trophy there is to win with Barcelona.

Lionel Messi didn’t need an intimidating physique to win six Ballon d’Ors. He only needed to put on that famous red-and-blue shirt, slide in his ‘LM10’ boots, and do what he did best — play football.

It’s difficult to talk about a man who has scored over 700 goals for club and country. Lionel Messi isn’t just a Barcelona player anymore — he cannot be defined by his club or country.

He has ascended beyond petty declarations. He is the face of sporting artistry, has been for over a decade.

Lionel Messi’s “arch-nemesis,” Cristiano Ronaldo, has been the only human to match his divinity, even eclipsing it on a few occasions.

The comparison isn’t warranted for in this piece, but it’s important to mention the impact Ronaldo’s had on Messi’s sublime career.

Without Cristiano Ronaldo hot on his heels, Lionel Messi probably wouldn’t have pushed himself so hard and wouldn’t have forced himself to adapt, every single moment.

El Clasicos became classic because of the duo, because of their unparalleled yet civil rivalry. And as football fans, we’re all grateful for it.

Even after seeing the man week in, and out for over 15 years, fans can’t seem to get enough. Haters, too.

Lionel Messi’s soulmates, Andres Iniesta and Xavi, have become Barcelona Hall-of-Famers, but the relentless number 10 insists on defying the odds, even on the wrong side of 30.

Lionel Messi has been Barcelona’s unyielding saviour for years, and the recent seasons have only reaffirmed that belief. The La Liga giants aren’t as powerful anymore and aren’t likely to be in the near future.

They squander ties, play repetitive football, and hardly have the financial muscle to do anything about it immediately.

Fortunately for the club and its supporters, they still have the majestic Messi on their side — the most decisive player in the world of football.

Like every champion, Messi, too, has his off days, but sadly for the opponents, they are few and far between. He doesn’t need to be seen every single minute to decide the fate of a tie.

He could just pop in with a left-footed curler, an unsavable free-kick, or a defence-piercing pass to decide the game. It’s that simple.

For Brazil or Real Madrid supporters, rooting for Messi could seem like an impossible task. For football lovers, however, it’s an automatic choice.

Messi isn’t above criticism and slander, no one is. But it’s also impossible to deny the respect he commands, the respect he has earned over the last 15 years.

The majestic left-footer turns 33 today, and we’re still not prepared to process that. The magic he weaves is still the same and the runs just as deadly.

Opponents still pray every time he picks up the ball and supporters still let out a sigh of relief. Messi is still the force to be reckoned with in football, and we pray we get to celebrate him for as long as possible.

It’s been an absolute pleasure to see the man immortalise the number 10, and we only wish health and success to the most successful footballer of the era. Happy birthday, LM10! Football is lucky to have you.

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