Some people think Lionel Messi is Argentina’s next Diego Maradona. The soon to be 23 year old forward is already an established super star at the pro level for Barcelona. Messi played in the 2006 World Cup. If Lionel stays healthy he could play in at least two or more World Cup Tournaments after this tournament in South Africa.
Lionel Messi is building quite a legacy for someone who hasn’t reached the age of 23. Messi will turn 23, while playing for Argentina in his second World Cup. According to ESPN soccernet Messi “participated in the 2006 World Cup but wasn’t a regular starter.” Soccernet calls the 2006 World Cup Lionel’s career low. Stating “he was unable to perform to his best in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where Argentina were eliminated in the quarter-finals with Messi looking on from the bench” however, it is important to note Messi only started one game, played in three , scored a goal and contributed an assist. Messi was part of an Argentina team which “won the Under-20 World Cup in 2005.” Lionel also was a member of the Argentina team which won “the Olympic gold medal at Beijing 2008.” In the Olympics Lionel Messi started five games and scored two goals. Placing in a World Cup Tournament would greatly add to Messi’s legacy and winning the Cup for Argentina would place Messi among Argentina’s top soccer players of all time.
Soccernet calls Messi “the undisputed idol of Barcelona.” Barcelona, Spain is where Messi plays professional soccer. Why is he the idol of Barcelona? In the 2009-2010 season Messi played in 52 games for Barcelona scoring 45 goals and adding 10 assists. In the 2008-2009 season in 51 games Messi scored 38 goals and added 16 assists. Messi made his pro debut during the 2004-2005 season for Barcelona.
Maradona himself is quoted on Soccernet as stating “Messi is my Maradona.” Maradona is coaching Messi and Argentina in the 2010 World Cup. Messi’s strengths are scoring and ball handling. According to ESPN Soccernet Lionel possesses “outstanding ball control at speed” which “is just about unmatched in world football.” Lionel’s weakness according to ESPN Soccernet is “he searches for a way to finish moves by himself without looking for team-mates in a better position to shoot at goal.” His pro stats reflect this as well. There are a lot more goals than assists. However, the tremendous amounts of goals would indicated he does have a great deal of success. The desire to be an international soccer super star and not just a pro league stud is great. However, at the World Cup stage Messi and Argentina will face off against the best teams in the world who also want to win the World Cup.
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