Indeed, one of the most spectacular players of all time is known to have a rather depressing and bland personality. This article will change the way you see him…
Here are 10 facts about Messi you've probably never heard before:
1. He used to stuff his face with pastries and Milanese escalopes
When Messi was a child, a coach had found the right method for him to surpass himself constantly: he promised him a "alfajor" the full Argentine pastry sugar for every goal scored. Leo scored 5 or 6 then had swallowed his due.
The four Golden Ball has always loved food. His favorite dish: escalope Milanese. His mother was cooking them two or three times a week during his stay in Catalonia.
When Josep Guardiola was appointed coach of Barca, he quickly realized that his gluttony was problematic. The press began to call Messi "the star of porcelain" because of his recurring injuries, partly due to his unhealthy lifestyle.
Guardiola decided to remove the Coca-Cola vending machine from the training center , which Messi used and abused, and he appointed a physiotherapist, Juanjau Brau who taught him to "not run away when he saw a salad."
"La Pulga" began to eat vegetables and stopped to spend the night watching the Argentine championship matches. And injuries have becomemore rare. To complete the job, Messi got engaged with a childhood friend who was studying to become a nutritionist, Antonella Rocuzzo.
Messi and antonella roccuzzo, his fiance who is also a nutritionist.
2. He did not manage to finish the autobiography of Maradona
Messi said his favorite book was "El Martin Fierro." It is a well-known book in Argentina, somewhat equivalent to the "Little Prince" in France. The book is laminated manual for school and talked about when you're stuck with nothing to say. The success providing him assurance, the Barcelona star now assumes that he never reads and he is not even able to overcome Maradona's autobiography.
His cultural universe is a wasteland. He stopped watching the series "Lost" and "Prison Break" because the story was too complex for him. At most a few films, such as "Cuidado, bebe suelto" or "El hijo de la novia" as the heroine reminds him of his grandmother (discussed).
Outside his sport, his passions revolve around the PlayStation – he excels at football simulations – and Disneyland, where he likes to walk.
Alexandre Julliard, co-author of "The Mystery Messi" says:
"Like many working-class children in Argentina, there is no room for anything other than family, friends and football. That's what built him. "
Away from the football field, Messi is really bored. He has long slept 12 hours a day to kill time and his brother Rodrigo talks about the first years in Barcelona as a sad routine: nap, Playstation and family.
However, Messi is not a stupid boy. All those who know him say he is quick to pick up things, quite smart actually. He is of a humble type and also very polite. The footballer Pedro Zabaleta, his friend from youth teams, said outright that he is "a better human being than a footballer."
3. He is socially inadequate
During his youth, Messi was so shy that people sometimes thought he wasmute or autistic. Journalist at El Pais, Roman Besa tells a story that illustrates his inability to communicate:
"One day, Lionel entered the field with a plastic spoon in his mouth. He did not let go until the end of the session. It was a way to show that he was upset. For what reason? Nobody knew and nobody has ever tried to find out. "
His teachers advised parents to take him to see a psychologist. At nearly 26 years old, the Barcelona is a bit more confident now but he is a nightmare for journalists to interview. And he hates talking on the phone. Even wirh Maradona, who said:
"It's harder to get Messi on the phone than to interview God. "
To communicate, the footballer uses his relatives. At school, it was a friend who raised his hand when he had a question. Today, he uses SMS to pass important messages. To say that the presence of Ibrahimovic to Barca was troublesome, he wrote to Guardiola
"Well, I see that I'm not really important for the team, so … "
This inability to socialise is probably the sport strength of Messi. Locked in his world, he is at home on the pitch, impervious to pressure from otherpeople, even at the most publicized level. His coach Tito Vilanova said heplays just like when he was 13.
4 It is an anonymous footballer who inspired the destiny of Messi
It is a footballer who has fallen into oblivion who convinced Messi's father that the fate of his son was in Europe. In 2000, the transfer of young players from Latin America to the Old Continent were rare. But thisyear, Leandro de Petris was leading the way. The 12 year old was a little star in Argentina and AC Milan decided to secure his services.
At this time, the talent of Messi began to dazzle his country. He was the best player of "maquina 87″, the selection of young Newell's Old Boys who won four championships in six years. So Jorge Messi would hire two agents to get him a test in a big club.
Messi landed in Barcelona because his father guessed there was good sportsmanship and financial future, not because the club was the only one to pay for his medical treatment, as the legend says. In reality, Leo had already been receiving injections of growth hormones for years to treat hisillness.
In any case, the career of De Petris was much less brilliant than Messi: After years of struggling in Italy, he now plays Argentine third division.
5. He was recruited by Barcelona after juggling with an orange
Fabian Soldini,an agent poached by Messi's father, said he must strike hard. In "The Mystery Messi" Alexandre Julliard and Sebastian Fest question Soldini, who said:
"I went to see Lionel and I gave him a few oranges and tennis balls. I told him: "You train to juggle it and within a week, I film." A week later, Leo mastered his subject. He made 113 juggle with an orange, 120 with a tennis ball. I sent it in Barcelona who quickly told me to bring him along."
This is the beginning of the story. Conquered by the boy, Carlos Rexach, former coach of Barcelona, quickly sign a transfer agreement on a paper towel. And Messi is Barcelona player.
6. The Argentine Federation initially called him Leonel Mecci
Messi, who obtained dual nationality, shines in his first games with the youth of Barça. So, the Spanish Federation gets interested. It almost calledhim for a selection.
The Argentine Federation realizes it must enlist quickly not to lose him forever. In the rush, it sends a notice when it barely knows who he is. Barcelona receives it addressed to "Leonel Mecci."
Messi is delighted: he is the only player playing outside Argentina to be part of the team under 20 years old, sacred – thanks to him – world champion.
The rest of his story with the Argentine selection is a series of disappointments. Xavi said Leo often gets "his morale destroyed" by his travels with the national team. He gets criticized because he is not as goodas with Barca and because he does not sing the anthem.
He is treated as "pecho frio", a coward, too smooth and too nice to honor the Argentine pride. When the team is eliminated from the 2010 World Cup in Germany, Messi cries in the dressing room so much that "he seemsto convulse," according to his coach.
7. He dedicates his goals to his beloved grandmother
It is thanks to her grandmother that Messi has persevered in football. It was her who led him to his training in Rosario, she convinced the coachesto play the little man with the biggest.
Alzheimer's patient, she died when Leo was 10 years old. He still talks a lot about her and he dedicates his goals by pointing his finger at the sky
"I miss her so much. I so wanted her to see what I've become. It is for thisreason that I dedicate my goals, because I like to think she sees me where she is "
The passion of Messi is his family. His father, so hard with him, and his grandmother, but also his brother Rodrigo with whom he has long lived inthe cocoon of the Barcelona suburb, his "Little Rosario", Matias, the otherbrother, the more turbulent. His mother, too, he has the face tattooed on his left shoulder blade.
8. He speaks Catalan only when he is drunk
Messi understands Catalan but almost never speaks it It the standard of a club that boasts its nationalism. Successive presidents have never dared to constrain the star.
Finally, one evening in celebration of a title from Barcelona, he took the megaphone, perched on top of the bus, and shouted:
"Visca el Barça, visca Catalunya there aguante Argentina, la concha de sumadre! "
"Long Live Barca, Long live Catalonia, and Argentina, (swearing words)!"
Messi had a scarf around his head. He was drunk.
9. His best friends are always Brazilian
Messi has always had lots of friends. He was nicknamed "The Dwarf" or "La Pulga" (the flea), they laugh at his big ears, but his football skills command respect. When he returns to Rosario, he hangs out with his old buddies from the "maquina 87."
In Barcelona, he was close to those with whom he has played since the age of 13, especially Fabregas and Pique, who he calls "Dad" because he has protected him from an early age.
But with the Brazilians it is always the best fun. Deco and Ronaldinho were his best mates. He chose to wear the number 30 because it is adding their two jerseys (10 and 20). These two, with Thiago Motta, now in Paris,made him experience the nightlife, to the point of angering his father.
Then there was the meeting with Sylvinho, who says:
"Leo asked me questions, he wanted me to help, to take his hand in some way. One day, for example, he wanted to change euros for yen, but he didnot know how to do it. I went down to the hotel reception for help. "
Today, Alexandre Julliard said:
"In Barcelona, his two closest friends are Dani Alves and the second goalkeeper Pinto. At the club, some even say that he is under contract justbecause he is a friend of Messi. "
10. "Inmessionante", the word that entered the dictionary
As the word "zlataner" makes you crazy. Well, know that Messi, too, had the right to become a common name. Santillana dictionary joined the adjective "inmessionante" whose definition is as follows:
"Adjective that refers to Lionel Messi, the perfect way to play football at its unlimited capacity to excel. Says the best footballer of all time. "
This is the Argentine coach Alejandro Sabella, driven by Pepsi, which hascampaigned for this neologism.
We say that Messi deserves it. His way to dribble the ball glued to the outside of his left foot, is unique. Guardiola believes that he is the only footballer to "run faster with the ball than without." Messi, explains it like this:
"When I was a kid, I played on rotten wasteland in the streets, in my house. My ball control is adapted to these conditions with the outside game, obviously, because it's easier to keep the ball … "