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Lionel Messi: The Argentine who replaced Diego Maradona

Lionel Messi
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Let us take a closer look into the man who is considered the greatest of all time by many. Lionel Messi, Maradona’s natural heir.

Name:Lionel Andres Messi Cuccitini
Nickname:‘Pulga’, GOAT, The Best Ever.
Born: 24 June 1987.
Birthplace:Rosario, Argentina.
Height:1.7 m (5 ft 5 in).
Clubs: FC Barcelona.
National Team:Argentina National Team.
Position:Forward.
Titles: 34 with club and 2 with Argentina.

It all started with an idea Lionel Messi had when he was little, he grew up watching Diego Maradona as any kid from Argentina would. From a very early age, he was always glued to a football everywhere he went. His first minutes on a football pitch were an accident. This was when he was invited to accompany his friends to a game.

The team filled with kids older than him was missing a player. They invited young Leo to play. That was the moment that convinced him he wanted to play football for the rest of his life. His grandmother was the person who always supported his passion for the game.

Every time he points his fingers to the sky, he honors her memory. This was the first person who believed in him, and she was gone way too soon. Messi grew up in the youth academies inside the city of Rosario, but he had a problem that didn’t allow him to evolve as a player. From a very early age, he was known to have a growth hormone problem.

As he grew older, Messi’s parents knew he needed a treatment that would help him activate that hormone. But medicine wasn’t cheap. This is what prevented several clubs from making the decision to sign him as a teenager. The negative response from clubs such as River Plate was the reason his parents decided to branch out.

Messi’s arrival at FC Barcelona. 

Leo’s talent was massive since he was. small child, everybody knew he could get somewhere in football. His father wanted to fight for his son’s dream and decided to travel to Spain. There was a call from FC Barcelona that convinced him to take young Leo for a trip to Europe. The two of them spent too long trying to make things happen, but the club somehow didn’t allow Messi to prove himself.

Then the key day finally came, as Leo was spotted by Carles Rexach. This was the make or break moment for Messi, and he didn’t disappoint. The former Barcelona manager saw his incredible potential and signed him on a piece of napkin. He knew that Barcelona would miss out on a generational talent if they didn’t close the deal as soon as they could.

The club also agreed to pay for Leo’s treatment, and everything started falling into place after that. Messi was on his way to become a professional footballer. However, nobody imagined the extent of his success. We were all about to experience the rise of arguably the best player in football history from the very beginning. Leo was a cultural phenomenon about to happen.

Are the comparisons with Maradona warranted? 

The most amazing part of this early steps Messi took, was that he never did anything on purpose. Everything took place in an organic manner from the moment he made his debut at FC Barcelona. But things started getting a little crazy back in 2007, which was when all the comparisons started happening.

Messi scored those two goals in the same season, one with his hand and the other one against Getafe. This is what cemented Leo as Diego Maradona’s natural heir. Many believed he would go on to become the second-best Argentine player of all-time, but he is already regarded as the best. Only people from Argentina who are older would place Diego on top of Leo, the rest of the world thinks differently.

After a long 15-year career, Messi is entering the veteran stage with a lot of nostalgia. So many trophies won for Barcelona, so much individual success. Out of everything he’s accomplished, we have to say that his greatest gift to football fans was his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo. The Maradona comparisons are not warranted because Messi is the better player out of the two. Only Cristiano can be compared with him. 

What will you do on the day Leo Messi hangs up his boots? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.