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Lionel Messi is a professional soccer player from Argentina, and is widely considered to be one of the greatest soccer players of all time. He has represented Argentina at numerous World Cups and finally lifted the World Cup championship trophy for the first time in 2022.

When taking a look at Messi’s upbringing in Argentina, and tracking his soccer career to where he is today, his journey and achievements becomes even more remarkable. That said, let’s take a closer look at the Lionel Messi story of success, and figure out what has made him such an impressive talent and inspirational individual worthy of admiration and emulation.

“I Made A Lot Of Sacrifices By Leaving Argentina … But Everything I Did, I Did For Football, To Achieve My Dream.”

– lionel messi –

When we take a look at successful people, particularly athletes, we typically only see the end product. We do not see the countless hours, numerous sacrifices, or they many obstacles they had to overcome along the way.

This is especially true for Lionel Messi, as his path to greatness is one of continuous sacrifice and relentless effort. By understanding what he has given up to get where he is today, we can leverage his story for inspiration to drive ourselves to accomplish our goals as well.


A Working Class Upbringing In Argentina

Lionel Messi was born in Rosario, Argentina in 1987. He came from a working-class family. His mother worked as a cleaner, and his father worked as a factory worker. Like many children in Argentina, he decided to take up soccer.[1]

He quickly separated himself from his peers, and everyone began to recognize his talent; however, he was also diagnosed with a chronic medical condition that threatened to derail his career.

When he was just eleven years old, he was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency. It required extensive medical treatment, and his family wondered if they could afford it. Without it, he may never finish growing, which would make it very difficult for him to become a competitive, professional athlete.

He and his family decided to sacrifice everything to obtain the treatment that he required. In some situations, he even needed to take Human Growth Hormone (HGH) to complete his development and become a man.

An Audition In Barcelona With Everything On The Line

Despite all of the sacrifices that his family made, his condition would require continued treatment. His local club, which was River Plate, was very interested in signing him. His talent was impressive, but it wasn’t impressive enough for the club to pay for his expensive medical treatment.

Eventually, after a lot of hard work and negotiating, Lionel Messi earned an audition and trial with Barcelona. During the workout, the coach at the time, Carles Rexach, was blown away by his talent. He decided to offer a contract to Lionel Messi immediately, and the team even offered to pay for his medical treatment.

The first contract was so impromptu that it was even written down on a napkin.[2] Lionel Messi accepted the offer, and he moved with his father to Barcelona. There, he joined FC Barcelona, and he got the cost of his medical treatment covered by the team, giving him access to some of the best doctors in Spain.

The Hard Work Begins To Pay Off

After moving to Barcelona, Messi got to work immediately. He knew that if he wanted to become one of the best players in the world, he would have to outwork a lot of more experienced soccer players who were bigger and more developed than him. Eventually, he worked his way through the ranks, and he debuted with Barcelona during the 2004-2005 season. He became the youngest player in history to score a goal in the league.

By the 2006-2007 season, Messi had become the top striker at Barcelona. In just 26 games, he scored 14 goals, positioning himself as one of the best players in the world.

Despite his success, Messi would not stop there. During the 2009-2010 season, he scored 47 goals, tying the record for the most goals scored in a year at Barcelona, which was held by Cristiano Ronaldo. He continued to break records, and in 2012, he broke the record for the most goals scored in a calendar year.

That year, he scored 91 goals, breaking the record held by Gerd Muller of Germany, who had scored 85 goals. That record has stood for 40 years, and people started to debate whether Messi was the greatest player of all time.

A Juxtaposition Against Historic World Cup Struggles

Even though the accomplishments of Lionel Messi during his club seasons are impressive and unparalleled, his struggles in the World Cup are just as striking.

Given the undeniable talent of Lionel Messi, a tremendous amount of pressure was placed on his shoulders. He was expected to help Argentina hoist another World Cup Championship, something they had not done in decades.

Sadly, the pressure appeared to be too much for the anointed golden child of Argentinian soccer. In 2006, he made three appearances, mostly off the bench, scoring only one goal. Then, in 2010, he was a full-fledged starter.

He was expected to carry Argentina to victory, but he did not score a single goal. In 2014, he played in seven games, but he only scored four goals. Then, in 2018, he was a disappointment. He appeared in all four games, but he only scored one goal.

Hoisting The Championship Trophy

Entering the 2022 World Cup, there was a lot of debate regarding whether Lionel Messi was the greatest soccer player of all time. The only thing missing was a World Cup championship trophy. In dazzling fashion, he led Argentina to the World Cup championship, scoring seven goals, including multiple penalty kicks.[3]

He let Argentina to victory over France in the World Cup final, scoring during the penalty kick shootout that would ultimately decide the tournament. In doing so, Lionel Messi has positioned himself as one of the greatest soccer players ever.

Final Thoughts

The story of Lionel Messi is one of success, but also one of perseverance in the face of overwhelming obstacles. He came from a disadvantaged background and was diagnosed with a chronic medical condition that threatened to derail his career.

He overcame those limitations with grace and courage, and committed himself to improve himself year over year, regardless of all the awards and accolades he’d received.

Messi pressed on. Then, despite the tremendous amount of pressure he faced as his team moved forward in the world cup, he lead Argentina to Glory, helping his team win the long awaited World Cup championship in 2022.

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