Lionel Messi has a God-given gift for football and has come a long way since he first started playing football in a poor suburb of Rosario.

Have you seen Messi playing football at five years of age? Well he played then like he does now. 

Obviously his game has improved immensely since then but when you see the ball glued to his feet as he dribbles around everyone at five-years-old then you can see a telling resemblance to the way he plays now. 

That’s what you call talent that you’re born with; instinctive, natural talent.  

When he manages to get past numerous world class defenders nowadays with a simple shuffle of his body and extremely quick feet and then scores a beautiful goal you become simply speechless. 

There are no words to describe what you have just seen. Even the commentators are sometimes left stunned. Everything he does is so elegant and easy; the intricacy of his touch and his balance are astonishing.  

Not only are his dribbling skills amazing but his passing ability and vision are also second to none. He gets so many assists, as well as goals.

He has broken all the records you could think of and he’s only 25. Obviously the two most notable records are winning the Ballon d’Or for four years in a row and, of course, breaking Gerd Muller’s record of most goals scored in a calendar year. 

91 goals in a calendar year in 2012; that's more than the whole Liverpool team scored in 2012. 

It isn't just 'The Flea's' playing ability that sets him apart from the rest, it's also his attitude.  

He somehow manages to be the best player in the world and still keep his feet on the ground and stay modest about everything, always thanking and putting his teammates before himself. 

The first thing he does when he wins individual prizes is thank his team mates for everything. In fact, he says he would always rather win team prizes ahead of individual prizes.

Messi was shy as a boy and he’s still rather shy as a man. To say he’s the best player in the world, he rarely gives interviews. 

His famous '60 Minutes Sports' interview wasn’t a very long one and he only agreed to the interview because 'his father asked him to'. 

It’s fair to say that he doesn’t particularly enjoy the celebrity side of the modern game. 

He has said himself that he 'doesn’t feel the need to talk; he speaks with his feet'. 

He also has his own charity and works for UNICEF and has stated that 'he’s more concerned with being a good person rather than being the best player in the world'.

But not only is his attitude exemplary off the pitch, it’s also exemplary on the pitch. He gets kicked and kicked so many times in a single game but he just gets back up, dusts himself down, and gets back on with the game; he doesn’t complain and, best of all, he doesn’t dive. 

He plays the game as if he’s still playing in the streets of Rosario as a boy but in a professional way. All he cares about is playing football; not the limelight, glamour and on-field petulance shown in the modern game.

This one sentence, from an article in the Daily Mail, sums up the shyness and humility of Messi: 'If ever a footballer had a reason to be flash, then it is Messi, who arrived in London on Monday night, strolling from the plane with his hands slung deep in his tracksuit bottoms and a rucksack on his back, not a trace of gel in his hair.'

What more can you say?

 

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