In spite of the fact that Lionel Messi has moved away from the spotlight of European football, he continues to be a magnet for the most prestigious honors in the sport. away Monday, he was awarded the title of FIFA’s best men’s player for 2023.
Within the same year that Messi took what many people consider to be a step down in standard to join Inter Miami in Major League Soccer, the pick of the 36-year-old over pretenders to his throne Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe was a contentious one.
In spite of this, Messi’s ability to attract people was still on display in the previous year, as he swiftly dominated the United States.
By hoisting the Leagues Cup in August, the eight-time winner of the Ballon d’Or was able to pull a team that had been struggling up until that point to the first trophy ever won by the franchise, which is co-owned by another individual named David Beckham.
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In addition, he won another league championship while playing for Paris Saint-Germain before departing from Europe; yet, his final few months in the French capital were everything from easy.
The audience at Paris Saint-Germain jeered at Messi, and the club even made the decision to suspend him for taking an unapproved trip to Saudi Arabia in order to fulfill commercial contracts.
A perception of a genius in decline emerged as a result of this, despite the fact that his peak was arguably higher than that of anyone else who came before him.
However, if Haaland is feeling dissatisfied with the fact that his moment has not yet arrived, despite the fact that he scored 52 goals and won the treble in his first season with Manchester City, he should just listen to his manager.
After being the driving force behind City’s triumph in the Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup during the previous season, Pep Guardiola was one of the coaches who was recognized as the best coach of the year at the FIFA awards ceremony held in London.
When it comes to Messi, Guardiola is well aware of the generational great that he had the privilege of observing up close during his four years as the manager of Barcelona.
“Always I said the Ballon d’Or should be in two sections, one for Messi, and after look for the other one, so Haaland should win, yes,” Guardiola remarked before to the Ballon d’Or ceremony that will take place in October.
“We won the treble because he scored 50 million goals but of course Messi…the worst season for Messi is the best for the rest of the players.”
The diminutive player who was brought to Barcelona from Rosario and went on to become a titan of the modern game was able to achieve this by scoring 672 goals in 778 competitive appearances for the club.
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After beginning his career as a darting and slightly injury-prone young winger, one who required Barcelona to pay for growth hormone treatment when he was a teenager, he eventually developed into a deadly “false nine,” a lethal free-kick taker, and eventually the ultimate playmaker.
Even more impressively, he soared to score a stunning header in the Champions League final against Manchester United. This was one of the four times that he did it while playing for Barcelona.
In addition, these Catalan titans won a total of ten LaLiga titles, seven Copas del Rey, and three Club World Cups during their time together.
On the other hand, the trophy that was the most important took the longest to obtain.
In the same way that Diego Maradona did for Argentina at the 1986 World Cup, Lionel Messi fought for years to bear the responsibility of leading his country to honor and glory.
Messi missed four opportunities to showcase his talents on the international stage, beginning with short outings as a wonder youngster in 2006 and continuing through his golden years, culminating in a sad final loss to Germany in 2014.
When a young Mbappe ran wild to give France a 4-3 victory over La Albiceleste in 2018, it seemed as though there was a passing of the baton in the hierarchical structure of football around the world.
In spite of this, Messi defied both the passage of time and the brilliance of Mbappe when the two of them faced off once more in the final of the 2022 World Cup, which is widely considered to be the greatest game in the history of the tournament.