Thursday, March 23, 2006


As the World Cup draws near, there seemed to be a lot of attention of which prodigy will shine the most in Germany. It seems that all fingers are pointed to Messi for what he has shown to the world thus far! I for one agree that this guy is a genius on the ball and can well replace the shoes left behind by Zidane and Ronaldinho when they retire or even before!

We talk about Robinho, Fabregas, Rooney, Cristino Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and Adu to be the contenders to be able to take that prodigy title in the World Cup. Well, to me, may the best player wins! I want as much entertaining beautiful football played as any fan on earth will wish for. We will hope all these players will stay injury free and perform to the best of their abilities as we witness in great joy!

Here is a related article written by Andre Santamaria.

Article Taken From:
Title: Resident Amigo: Messi Is the Best Young Player in the World

Lionel Messi went from 13-year-old Newells starlet to the best young player in the world. Resident Amigo Andre Santamaria discusses why.

There are a ton of young stars dispersed throughout the various football leagues of the world. In England, there is the young bulldozer Wayne Rooney and his Portuguese teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. At Arsenal, hot young Spaniard Cesc Fabregas at times seems capable of dominating any midfield. Over in Spain, Real Madrid's Robinho is a young man with immense potential but perhaps with too much weight on his shoulders. There also is Robinho's teammate, Sergio Ramos, who has been touted as the next Fernando Hierro.

In the United States there's the young American midfielder Freddy Adu, who seems to have the best of the African game mixed with the best of the American game, but will need to move to a big European club to prove himself as a true talent. In South America there are River's Javier Mascherano and Boca's Fernando Gago among others.

Then there is Barcelona's Argentine wonder, Lionel Messi, a talent who has proven himself at almost every level of the game. He is not only the youngest player ever to score for Barcelona but also moved up the youth ranks through to Barcelona C, B, and then onto the first squad in the quickest time of any Barcelona player in history.

So what separates Messi from Rooney, C. Ronaldo, Robinho, and the others?

Aside from an impressive list of accomplishments you will find below Messi is the best young player because of a certain unpredictability that he possesses. Yes, it’s true that C. Ronaldo has incredible control and tricks, but how often does he now do something completely unseen or unheard of? Rooney is a tank and can produce goals from most situations but he isn’t the sort of player who is capable of running a game. Rooney is a game-breaker in sense, because he can score at any time. But he isn’t the sort of player that can commandeer a team, who can take the ball from the midfield, beat four players and give it to another forward for a goal. Messi, on the other hand, can do all of the same things that Rooney, C Ronaldo, and the rest can do, and more.

So, really the difference is that Messi is the whole package while the others seem only capable of filling one role on a team. Could you imagine Rooney as a playmaker or C. Ronaldo as anything other than a winger at Manchester United?

What about Robinho, Ramos, Gago, Mascherano, Adu, Cesc, etc…? Robinho is the same brand as C. Ronaldo or Rooney. The triumvirate is a brand of incredibly talented players with wonderful futures ahead of them, but the trio also is a brand of one-sided, one-purpose players.

Cesc is a great youngster with tons of potential, and he is multifunctional, and I believe he will be Messi´s main competition for the title of best young player at this World Cup, with Xavi´s indefinate absence the Spanish national squad will be looking for someone to fill the vacum… that someone is Cesc, and so IF Cesc can prove himself at the international level then he will have thrown his name into the same hat as Lionel Messi´s. As for Gago, Mascherano, and Adu, let’s face it: Any league outside of Europe is not even half as competitive as a European league. How can we then presume to compare the success of an American (South or North) based player like Gago or Adu to that of a European based player? For the American based contingent of the short list of great young talents, it will be absolutely necessary for them to relocate to Europe should they want to top the list some day. Otherwise, they never will have the chance to play against the same caliber of opposition as Messi, Cesc, Robinho, Rooney, C. Ronaldo and friends do.

At the international level, Messi has been an absolute success. In the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, he won the Golden Boot and was voted the tournament’s MVP in leading the Albiceleste to the title against players mostly older than himself.

At the age of 14, Messi crossed the Atlantic from Argentina to try to fulfill his footballing dreams in Europe. He eventually arrived in Barcelona where, after a trial with one of the youth affiliates of the club, he immediately was signed. His initial performances were so impressive that he was whisked up to the C team, with whom he continued to shine. After a brief stay with the C team Messi was moved up again, this time to the B team, until he was 16. Due to some injuries in the first team squad, Messi, all 16 years of him, was given a run in the first team in a friendly against Porto to celebrate the opening of Dragao stadium. The young Argentine made his Spanish debut for Barcelona on October 16, 2004, in the heated Catalan derby against Espanyol, in which Barcelona defeated their crosstown rivals 1-0.

After a string of first team appearances, Messi continued to impress, and on May 1, 2005, he became the youngest players to ever score a goal for Barcelona when he smashed one into the back of the net against relegation-bound Albacete -- he was all of 17 at the time. Since then Messi has become a first team regular in the Barcelona squad, and he recently has begun to outdo even Ronaldinho -- as tough as that is to believe. In the recent Champions League clash against Chelsea in London, Messi was without a doubt the best player on the field. Pristine ball control, creativity, and vision were the ingredients of his Argentine stew, the likes of which Abramovich’s mighty Blues just couldn't swallow.

So what does the future hold for Messi?

Messi will no doubt be given a chance to shine in his first World Cup in Germany this year. Should he do what many believe he is capable of doing, namely carry the Argentine squad to success, he will have to be recognized as one of the best players in the world today, if not the best. And he's just 18! Imagine, Barca soon will have the two best players in the world, though how that plays out will be interesting. Is Ronaldinho ready to hand over the Barcelona crown to his young teammate? Something tells me he won’t mind. The curly-haired Brazilian has been mentoring Messi and his mullet since the youngster arrived at the club.

In the upcoming World Cup the clash between emerging young talents should provide that extra spark which could set Germany afire. Will Adu make an impact enough to make the U.S. roster? Will Cristiano Ronaldo be able to split the defenses of his opposition at will? Will Ramos and Cesc be able to provide Spain with its overdue glory? Will Robinho finally break into the Brazilian squad and win a World Cup with the tournament favorites? Will Rooney and the mighty English team walk on to victory for the first time in 40 years? Will Messi bring the World Cup to Argentina? The real question is: Will another young player prove me wrong when I say that Messi is the best prospect in the world today?

Time will answer all. What is for sure, however, is that at the end of it all, if Messi really is as great as he seems to be, if he really is the real deal, this World Cup could be one for the history books.

Your Resident Amigo,
Andre Santamaria


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