The “Flea” marks the tenth anniversary of his debut tomorrow. The Argentinian wonder continues to break records left, right and centre.
Tomorrow marks the tenth anniversary of one of the most significant dates in modern football: the debut of Lionel Messi. The Argentinian star was barely 17 when he was brought on as a substitute for Deco against Espanyol, but was still nowhere near Paulino Alcantara’s record for the youngest debut. After ten years, that is pretty much the only record Messi has left standing.
Since that moment when the “Flea” entered the pitch, hair flowing, he was won three Champions League titles, six Spanish league titles, two World Club Championships, two European Super Cups, two Spanish cups and six Spanish super cups. He could retire now as one of the most decorated players of all time, but still has a number of years left to add to his resumé.
If anything, his personal trophy count is even more impressive: four consecutive Ballons d’Or from 2009-2012 is an achievement which may never be matched in football.
Eden Hazard described Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as “extra-terrestrials” compared to the rest of football, and it is true that their insane statistics tend to cancel each other out, with the two compared to each other without context. Consider Messi’s club goal stats in isolation:
Appearances – League: 245 Cup: 26 Other: 95
Goals – League: 249 Cup: 17 Other: 83
The numbers defy imagination. The 401 goals in this video (which is already out of date: he’s scored four in the three games he’s played since it was made), take thirty two minutes to watch, without replays.
There is something magical about watching this video of the 17-year-old and knowing the glory that is to come. Nobody, least of all him, expects it.