Cassian Baliarsingh

Football legend Lionel Messi has finally ended the GOAT debate after his terrific win in the FIFA World Cup. He is officially the all-time great. Not that his innumerable goals and trophies were not enough to earn him a legendary status like Pele and Maradona, but a World Cup win was just the stamp that he needed.

The Argentina legend completed football by winning his maiden FIFA World Cup title. This apart, he also won the Golden Ball and became the first player in history to be given the honour twice.

However, his fame isn’t an overnight success. He once said, “I start early and I stay late, day after day, year after year. It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success.”

That consistency, commitment and sheer hard work in total forms a Messi. He is hope and inspiration for millions of football fans. But, not many know that he too had his share of challenges.

He was born in a middle class family that lived in Argentina. Growing up in a football loving family, he developed passion for football at an early age. Coached by his father, he showed his great skills when he was only 5.

But, it was strange to see that he was way shorter than most boys of his age. He was shocked to learn that he was hit by Growth Hormone Deficiency at an early age.

Sharing his inspiring story, Messi once said, “Whenever I went onto the pitch, or when I went to school, I was always the smallest of all. At 11, I had to seek medical assistance. Every night I had to stick a needle into my legs over a period of 3 years.”

The treatments brought a major financial setback for his family. Unfortunately, his family couldn’t afford his treatment for too long. Even though, he was a great asset for his soccer club, but they refused to pay his treatment bills.

But then, his life took an amazing turn. At 13, he got an offer from FC Barcelona that they would pay for his treatment if he played for them. Without any second thought, his family moved to Spain with no money and job, all in the hope that his treatment will make him big enough to play soccer.

And as destiny would have it, he became the youngest player in FC Barcelona history to score a goal when he was only 17. And then, there was no looking back.

He soon went to become a star performer for every team that he ever performed with. Today, Lionel Messi is known as the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT).