Messi did steal the show tonight, but it’s true that the entire Barcelona team should also be credited for the convincing win over Bayern Munich. Right from the start Barcelona was pressuring and pestering Bayern all over the pitch. Bayern never looked comfortable and didn’t even have a shot on target all night. Yes, Messi’s goals were brilliant, but it required the entire team to dismantle Bayern Munich like that. Everyone knew Barcelona had been playing at top form, but Bayern was considered arguably the best club in the world coming into this game. After tonight’s though, it’s clear who the best club in the world is right now. And Messi is the unquestioned leader of that club.
I prefer to win titles with the team ahead of individual awards or scoring more goals than anyone else.
~ Lionel Messi, 10 March 2012
The four time Balon d’Or winner prefers the glory achieved as team over his individual accomplishments. Would he really be the same without Xavi, Iniesta, and Barcelona?
I think this genius is impossible to describe. That’s why he is a genius. He has instinct. He loves to live with pressure. He is one of the best ever created.
Pep Guardiola on Messi in NY Times interview, May 21, 2011.
Photo: “Lionel Messi” Series of Paintings by Kubo Cup Brazil 2014
My mind went blank and I couldn’t think of what to say. All the same, I’d like to dedicate this award to my family.
~ Lionel Messi, 7 January 2013
Messi wins his fourth consecutive Ballon d’Or. The little Maestro isn’t a great quote machine, but who cares? His genius is on the pitch and it is a privilege to watch the greatest player ever in his prime.
“We thought he was mute,” said Gerard Piqué, the lanky Barcelona center back who played with Messi in the club’s youth academy. “He was in the dressing room, on the bench, just sitting. He said nothing to us for the first month. We traveled to Switzerland to play a tournament, and he started to talk and have fun. We thought it was another person. He was really good, but he was really small and thin. His legs were like fingers. One coach said, ‘Don’t try to tackle him strong, because maybe you will break him.’
And we said, ‘O.K., but don’t worry because we cannot catch him.’ ”