On October 16, 2004, the soccer world was introduced to this little magician, Lionel Messi. Unknown to most at the time, but that would change in the nearly two decades that followed.
During his debut against Espanyol, it quickly became clear that we were dealing with a very special player here. Although no one thought then that this little Argentine would conquer the world with his soccer talent.
But what makes Messi so great?
It should be obvious that Lionel Messi belongs among the very best soccer players ever, according to many, even the best!
But what distinguishes Messi from all other players, what makes him so special, or rather, the GOAT?
Perhaps the thing Messi does best of all is dribble. This sets him incredibly apart from the competition, making him perhaps the best dribbler ever. Messi is unique in his way of dribbling and is one of the few who manages to run between four or five players while they do everything they can to stop him.
But why is Messi’s dribble so much better?
The main reason Messi’s dribble is so incredibly good is because of his physique. As everyone knows, Messi is very small and would have been even smaller had he not been given growth hormones when he was young.
But his height is precisely what determines his dribbling. Thanks to his height, he manages to slip between everything and is incredibly agile. This also allows him to use almost no force to hold off players; he just slips past them.
In addition to his length, his ball control is critical to his dribbling ability. This allows him, during his dribble at high speed, to still keep the ball close to him. This makes it almost impossible to stop him.
As mentioned above, Messi’s ball control is from another world. The little Argentine manages to keep the ball so close to him that it seems as if the ball sticks to his feet.
His dribbling skills and ball control go hand in hand. If he only had either, he would have been much less good, but that is not the case with Messi. Messi is incredibly difficult to defend, the ball happy so close to his body, giving him so much control and allowing him to change direction at any moment.
This is also why so many fouls are committed on Messi; he simply cannot be stopped in any other way. In many cases, the opponent does not even have the intention to commit a foul, but it happens automatically because when they try to take the ball away, they also immediately hit Messi because he keeps the ball so close to him.
Added to this is his agility, which we will discuss below.
Thanks to his short length and the fact that Messi’s heaviest point is low to the ground, he is enormously agile. That, of course, is also an important factor for his dribbling skills.
Actually, with Messi, everything falls together, and all the qualities in which he excels make him the best soccer player.
Messi can spin around his axis and suddenly change direction like no other. This makes him incredibly unpredictable and very difficult to defend. This leaves defenders running backward when Messi comes running at them, but in most cases, this is just a stay of execution. Before they know it, he has dribbled past them, or they have committed a foul.
And on the parts of the field where Messi usually finds himself, you don’t want to commit a foul. After all, this is usually just outside the penalty area or just inside it. In both cases, the chance of a goal against is very high.
Indeed, Lionel Messi knows how to deal with a free kick on the edge of the penalty area, and he doesn’t turn his hand to a penalty, either.
Despite not being the fastest player, Messi is by no means slow. Because Messi is relatively small, it always looks like he is faster than he really is. Still, Messi has always been among the faster players, especially when he was younger.
The special thing about Messi is that he is just as fast without the ball as with it. In this, he is unique, and it also immediately explains why his dribble is so dangerous. He keeps the ball close to him, is agile, but is also very fast with the ball on his foot.
The highest speed Messi has ever reached is 20.19 mph. This was in 2017, his highest speed in 2022 has dropped to 19.1 mph.
This is still pretty fast, especially considering his age, and combined with his dribble, ball control, and agility, very dangerous!