Lionel Messi’s goal-scoring records and championship wins need no recounting here. What stands out to me about Messi, 35, is his consistent greatness over so many years. This is so difficult to achieve, and then maintain. He dribbles like a magician, and his angular passes are works of art. His awareness and anticipation are almost beyond comprehension.
My career has just come to an end. I now realize how much weight we athletes carry. But in our daily lives, we don’t even realize it. For a football player like Messi, that weight likely feels more massive, as he represents both a world-renowned club and a very passionate country. Argentina’s World Cup victory was magnificent. Millions of fans’ taking to the streets of Buenos Aires to celebrate was an amazing moment in sports, witnessed around the world. Even those who don’t follow football must have realized the true impact of the world’s most popular game.
Growing up, Diego Maradona and Gabriel Batistuta were my favorite Argentine players. I was lucky enough to meet both of them. They inspired me. Now Messi can inspire future generations. I can only hope we get to see his unique creativity and artistry for a little bit longer. Don’t blink too often as Messi performs on the pitch. You may miss something incredible from the man of the moment.
Thank you, Leo.
Federer, an athlete and philanthropist, has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles
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