Monday, June 05, 2006

PLAYER PROFILE - 19 Lionel Messi

Date of birth: 24 June 1987; Rosario, Argentina
Height:
170 cm
Weight:
65 kg
Position:
Forward
Argentinian Jersey number -19
Current Club: Barcelona (ESP)
Int'l Goals:
1
Int'l Caps:
7
First Int'l Cap:
Hungary v. Argentina (17-Aug-2005)

The man many call ‘El Pulga’ (The Flea in Spanish) is Lionel Messi. The young lad whose parents had come to Spain from Argentina while he was just 13 was gifted with the football prowess at an early age. The boy wonder who got noticed during his stellar performance in bringing Argentina the U-20 World title. His movement and his brilliance is such that he is being compared to the legendary Diego Maradona.

Though tough on the lad to live up to the expectations, all that is there in his mind now is to go out and play. Messi had swept the awards at the U-20 World Championship by winning the Golder Shoe award for being the top-scorer and also the Golder Ball for the best player of the tournament, truly showed his involvement in the game.

The prodigy is capable of maneuvering his runs to perfection, has impeccable passes and above all has a great vision. His favorite foot is his left-foot and he’s been the architect to most of his team’s attack; all these makes the opposing defenses extremely wary of the young man. Argentina in a Messimania now and most teams would do well not to mess with Messi.

In the run up to the World Cup the lad had suffered an injury and has just recovered. He had played for brief 20 odd minutes in Argentina’s friendly against Angola. Though he didn’t score any goals, Messi created some of Argentina’s best attacking chances. It is this form along with his other recent history that puts him in a league of top-performers to watch in this World Cup.

Recent History

*His 6 goals in the U-20 World Cup won his both the Golden Shoe and Golden Ball awards.

*His opening goal against Brazil was seen as the most important goal of the U-20 Tournament.

*He currently plays for the European Champions Barcelona. At just 17 years he became the youngest goal scorer ever for Barcelona.

*His first international goal with his country's senior team came against Croatia in March, 2006.

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