Guardiola-Messi, a partnership that made history

The Argentine soccer player Leo Messi he turns 35 today. Since his debut in the First Division back in 2003, “La Pulga” amazes locals and strangers alike with his unique way of playing this sport. Long before becoming the world star that he is, this player from Rosario already showed flashes of crack in the children’s Newell’s Old Boys and, later, in “La Masía” FC Barcelona. His ability was so evident that the president of the AFA, Julio Grondonaorganized a match with the Argentine team so that he would not be seduced by Spain, who had already called him up for the Sub 17.

Obsessed with always being the best version of himself, Messi reached the pinnacle of the world of football in 2009. Before, still as a diamond in the rough, he had debuted in a World Cup with “La Albiceleste”, had won his first Champions League (in a secondary role) and had won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Over time , went from being a virtuous footballer to a competitive animal. And in that, he had a lot to do Pep Guardiolathe coach who accompanied him on his way to the top of the best.

With the Spanish technical director from the substitute bench, Messi took control of the Catalan team on the field of play. Already with the 10 on his back, and without the omnipresence of Ronaldinho, Leo understood that it was his moment and he did not waste it. In Pep’s first season, the team won its first sextet and forever changed the history of modern football. With the game of possession as a flag and in a squad full of footballers that emerged from the club’s youth academy (such as Víctor Valdés, Carles Puyol, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta)the Argentine became “the strawberry of the dessert”: that same place that Diego Maradona hoped that the rosarino fulfilled in the selection.

Guardiola-Messi, a partnership that made historyAlberto Estevez – EFE

As of the 2008/2009 season, Messi’s numbers began to take on a supersonic character and Pep’s team aroused support among fans from all over the world. At the same time, the technical directors began to see Guardiola as a benchmark. Then, he began to impose -and value-, the associated game and the importance of winning with a pretext. The Argentine crack had become the superhero of a constellation of galactics with the face of office workers.

However, like all superheroes, He had his nemesis. In that same season, Cristiano Ronaldo He arrived at Real Madrid and, by dint of goals, power and tenacity, he came to symbolize the ideal carrot. They both fed each other. Therefore, it is impossible to understand one without the other. For example, one fact is enough: between 2008 and 2018, Lionel and CR7 successively shared the Golden Ball award for the best player in the world. Beyond this and that the undoubted difference between the public profiles of both was a perfect additive to fictionalize an “enmity” between them, outside the field of play, they always professed respect, and even owed each other a meal. In fact, Ronaldo’s eldest son, Cristiano Jr., is a self-confessed admirer of the Argentine’s work.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, without a doubt, the two best footballers of their time
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, without a doubt, the two best footballers of their timeAFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL – File

After Guardiola’s departure, a time of transition came in Messi’s professional life, but he still continued to win titles with the culé team. Despite it being the undisputed king of football in the old continent, The Argentine soccer society always looked askance at the boy who, at only 12 years old, had to migrate to Spain to undergo a hormonal treatment that he stoically endured. His shy character, his murderous look and a personality that does not allow shrillness, were the foundations of the wall that rose for a long time between some sectors of the press and the albiceleste fans with crack. That wall would only be broken in 2021, when the Argentine team struck in Brazil and, hand in hand with Messi, broke its curse of 28 years without titles by being crowned champion of the Copa América.

And it kept growing. With Barcelona, ​​he conquered a new treble accompanied by his cronies Luis Suárez and Neymar Jr., but after the departure of the Brazilian (although his individual performances were always superlative), the Catalan club failed to win the Champions League again. In that context, an “unpayable” salary expelled Leo from the team of his life in 2021. Since then, he wears the PSG shirt and continues to have expectations to fulfill. It is preceded by his own legend.

Lionel Messi lifts his most precious trophy
Lionel Messi lifts his most precious trophyCARL DE SOUZA – AFP

Here are 16 questions to test your knowledge of this Argentinian idol. Top scorer in the history of Barcelona, ​​La Liga and the national team. Seven times winner of the award for the best footballer in the world. Crowd reference. A boy from Rosario.

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