Lionel Messi is arguably the best soccer player in the world. He has won the B’lon Dor three times in 2009, 2010, 2011 and has played with the club FC Barcelona for years winning La Liga five times and Champions League three times while he was there.
His honors and success are substantial and have a lot to say about him as a player but today we’re going to dive deeper into Messi’s life to talk about his behavior open up a more intimate conversation about the young man.
He’s not very outspoken, neither is he very loud or overbearing when he is interviewed. He seems more withdrawn when he’s in public and he’s very soft spoken. To understand why he is this way you have to go back and look at the history and his beginnings at his training ground at La Masia in Spain.
The Argentinian caught the attention of scouts at a very early age. He was a young boy then. He was recruited and sent over from Argentina leaving his family and friends behind. When he first came to La Masia to train he was described as very quiet and shy, often indicating the longing of his parents. The first few years at La Masia were very hard for him as he wasn’t in the same boat as the other players because his family wasn’t very close to him distance-wise. Most of the other children were from Spain but they were very supportive of him and tried their very best to cultivate and nurture the growing Argentinian.
He grew up playing soccer and it’s his relaxation and also his job. Soccer is not a job to him as it is simply what he does at play. As he grew older he continues playing.
The environment at La Masia encourages humbleness. They never try to make money or fame an important aspect of life, instead they try very hard to create an environment that provides for a player to grow up well rounded. The go to school together and learn together. Part of the reason is because at La Masia you earn respect through humbleness. Academy Director Carles Folguera said, «… you can be humble if your surroundings are but it’s tough.» At La Masia they encourage a lot of camaraderie. Folguera also stated, «..the most important qualities for the boys is comradeship and humbleness.» Seems like this has been drilled into them at La Masia as part of their player creation process.
Coming from a poor background of a father who was a steelworker and a mother who was a cleaner, the Argentinian had a lot to thank for at La Masia. His former coach Guardiola was very happy to be at La Masia at the age of 13 because they were a very organized establishment that they «helped me grow up» and had «very good food.» From this you can see that there were fond memories to be had at La Masia, it’s a place where you needs are taken care of and coming from a poor family you have a lot to be thankful for such as having a good place to learn, play and train and also have good food to eat. Aside from that at La Masia there is 75 staff members including doctors and trainers to help with the needs of the players as they grow older. These all inclusive associates help develop a more balanced personality that does not need to feed on fame or fortune to feel appreciated and respected as the «family» has already ascertain and taken care of all your needs. All you have to do is play.
Messi still idolizes other players. His favorite soccer player he followed as he grew up was Pablo Aimar, someone he used to watch videos of and try to mimic his skills. To this day he still idolizes this man, someone who Messi has beaten in terms of records of achievement. At the age of 23 a TV show interviewed Pablo Aimar on his thoughts of Lionel Messi and had the interview recording replayed to Lionel Messi as he watched in awe and silent joy. This shows that he’s still a young person inside, someone who is very much still adhering to those feelings and emotions he had as a child.
So as you can see, La Masia never turned off the need for a person to hide their individuality and childishness. There are other things that are more important to La Masia such as respect through humbleness that bring out a different and very docile, humble and respectful person upon graduation of the program. Lionel Messi simply happens to be one of many very well rounded and nice players that graduated to play for Barcelona and other teams.
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