It wasn’t difficult to predict that Lionel Messi would become a world-class player around 2004 and 2005.
The youngster from Argentina was only small but dominated matches thanks to his exceptional ability and footballing intelligence. He looked a once-in-a-lifetime type talent. Messi had a left foot to die for and it didn’t take long before many started to compare him to a certain Diego Maradona.
Few could have predicted back then, however, that Messi would go on to surpass Maradona and every other footballer to cement his status as arguably the greatest footballer of all time.
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While it’s always great to look over Messi’s best moments in the Barcelona first team - you can take your pick from thousands of compilation videos on YouTube - there’s something extra special about watching footage of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner before he became a household name.
We’ve all see the clips of Messi running rings around opponents as a child in Rosario, while the footage of Messi doing his thing as a teenager - and student at La Masia - has racked up millions of hits over the years.
Video: Barcelona release rare footage of Messi
It’s rare, though, to see unseen footage of Messi in action - but today Barcelona have released a brilliant two-minute clip of their star number 10 playing in a Barcelona B derby against Espanyol during the 2004-05 campaign.
Messi, you’ll be unsurprised to discover, is head and shoulders above everybody else on the pitch and weighs in with a goal and an assist.
The little maestro has always been a genius.
Will we ever see a player better than Lionel Messi? Let us know by leaving a comment below.