Lionel Messi is one of the best soccer players of his generation. The Argentinean has won the Golden Shoe six times and is the most excellent star on FC Barcelona. He is a talented player and admired by soccer legends, like Pele. Last year, the best soccer player of all times said that he would choose Messi over Cristiano Ronaldo if he had a team.
Of course, this fame also made Lionel Messi wealthy. According to Forbes, he is the highest-earning player on Earth and in 2019 he made $127.000.000.
But what makes Messi so good? Here are some reasons why he is considered the best player in the world.
10 Messi is the best - and science can prove it
If you ever had doubts about who is the best player of the current generation, science can prove that the only answer is Messi. According to research, his results are twice better than Cristiano Ronaldo's.
"The value of a soccer player is often determined by goals and assists," said professor Jesse Davis, one of the researchers."A goal is a rare event, however, because an average of 1,600 actions are estimated to occur in a match. Our model views every action - shots, passes, dribbles, tackles - and calculates their individual value."
According to the research, in the first seasons, Cristiano and Messi have similar scores. However, from 2015 on, the Argentinian player outshone Ronaldo.
9 He overcame growing issues
Messi faced his first struggles early on life. When he was 11 years old, the player discovered he had growth hormone deficiency and that would probably come in the way of his professional soccer career.
The player had to do a hormone treatment. However, his family was affected by the Argentinean crises and could not afford the rest of the procedure, that cost $1.300 per month. According to Goal, he restarted it years later while he was in Barcelona. Messi is 5'6" and would be much shorter if he didn't do the treatment.
8 Messi knows he depends on other players
In 2018, Messi received his 5th Golden Shoe. Although it is an individual prize, the player is aware that his success also depends on his teammates. Messi knows how to recognize the talent and effort of other players.
"This is thanks to hard work and effort and, above all, my teammates." He said during his speech when he received the prize. I have the best players in the world in their positions playing beside me, and that makes everything easier and lets me win these prizes."
7 He is a legendary player
Messi is not only about results. The Argentinean player is one of the pillars of the sport. Messi measures up well against the most legendary players of all time, and he got praised even by the Brazilian idol, Pele, and other talented players.
"He's the ultimate number 10: Talent, passion, magic. Messi is the very essence of football, and we're lucky that he's playing in our time so that we can enjoy it," the former Italian player Del Piero said to Marca.
6 Messi keeps getting better
Messi is a legendary player. And when you are at the top of your game, some might feel tempted to take their foot off the gas. However, he is one of the few players that somehow continues to improve, even when he is already considered the best.
"You always think that it will be hard for him to improve even further, yet he keeps on doing just that. Nobody knows what the limits of an extraordinary player like Messi are," Former Argentina coach, Alejandro Sabella told Goal in 2014. This is still true after some years.
5 Messi recognizes his weak points
Messi is considered one of the best players of all times, but he knows he is not perfect. The star is aware he needs to improve in some points.
"The penalties. I'd like to be more effective," Messi told Mirror. "It's very difficult. It's not the same to practice them as it is to take them in a game. There are a lot of other factors at play. Today's goalkeepers save some penalties that the ones in the past wouldn't have. But, yeah, this is a thing that I'd like to be better at."
According to Mirror, Messi has a success rate of approximately 80 percent on penalties. There is no such thing as too good when it comes to Messi, which may explain why he has remained on top for so long.
4 Rivals admire him
Being rivals doesn't mean you have enemies. Cristiano Ronaldo and Leonel Messi are the best players of their generation and they also have a friendly rivalry.
"We shared the stage for 15 years, him and me," Cristiano Ronaldo said on Complex. "I don't know that it's ever happened in football, the same two guys, the same stage, all the time. It's not easy. We have a good relationship. We've not had dinner together yet, but I hope [we will] in the future. [...] Of course I miss playing in Spain - we've had that battle the last 15 years, which is good. It pushed me and I pushed him as well."
Ronaldo and Messi have been the main two names in football for more than a decade, a rivalry that was further fueled by the fact the pair played for Spain's biggest two clubs. In some ways, these two share a mutually beneficial relationship, as they both push the other to improve.
3 He still has things to conquer
Messi is considered one of the best players in the world. In 2008, he received the title of the best player of the year by FIFA. However, he hasn't achieved much wearing the shirt of his national team, Argentina. But perhaps that is the reason he is still getting better.
"I have to stand up and try again, no matter how many times I fall", Messi claimed. "This is a good message for the kids, not just in football, but in life. I want to retire having won something with Argentina," Messi said earlier this year. Messi is a role-model for everyone, not just football fans.
2 He loves Argentina
Messi signed a contract with Barcelona FC and moved to Spain when he was 13 years. In Europe, he built one of the most successful careers in soccer history and became a star. In 2005, he granted Spanish citizenship, which would allow him to play to Spain during the World Cup and Olympics.
However, Messi is still very close to his origins and adored in Argentina. The player decided to play in the South American team, which helped his popularity in Argentina. But he still needs to conquer a World Cup title for his home country.
1 He has millionaire contracts
Messi has one of the most valuable images in the sport and he is aware of that. According to Forbes, $35.000.000 of his income in 2018 came from endorsement contracts. We often see Messi endorsing global brands, which is great for his finances.
Probably the most valuable deal is a lifetime contract with the giant Adidas, but the annual amount he receives was not revealed. The brand also signed a lifetime agreement with Cristiano Ronaldo (nearly $75 million a year) and the NBA athlete, LeBron James ($60 million a year).