At 36, Lionel Messi receives his third FIFA top honor, demonstrating that his brilliance hasn’t aged.
Messi’s Timeless Brilliance: From La Liga Debut to FIFA Best Awards 2023 Triumph
October 16, 2004. The date is indelible in the history of football. The highly anticipated 17-year-old striker from Argentina, Lionel Messi, made his La Liga debut by substituting in with eight minutes remaining. Who would have imagined that he would still be discussed in the same way over twenty years later? Yes, Messi is still relevant today. The 36-year-old was named the FIFA Best Awards’ men’s player of the year for the period of December 19, 2022, to August 20, 2023 on Monday.
It’s true that Messi is the final one standing. He’s moved on from all the competition. Many people used to mention both his and Cristiano Ronaldo in the same sentence only a few years ago. Not any longer! Messi is still making enormous progress in the game of football, whereas 38-year-old Ronaldo has been sort of languishing in the Saudi Pro League while playing for Al Nassr. Ronaldo has big expectations for himself. The most recent honor confirms that.
There was a moment in the rivalry when Ronaldo seemed to be winning. Both of them were, more or less, killing it when it came to their club appearances. Messi was playing for Barcelona, and Ronaldo for Real Madrid. The two biggest teams in La Liga history. Then, under Ronaldo, Portugal won the 2016 Euro, which further boosted his stature in the Messi vs. Ronaldo controversy.
Post-World Cup Glory: Messi’s Ascendancy Continues as Ronaldo Faces Challenges
In the World Cup, easy games are to be expected, but not in the Euro. Another factor is that the World Cup of football continues to be the most anticipated tournament since it draws a worldwide audience unlike any other in the sports world. Thus, Argentina’s victory in the 2022 World Cup, led by Messi, significantly shifted the conversation back in his favor.
Messi hasn’t faltered even after experiencing the pinnacle of glory with Argentina. Ronaldo, however, has experienced terrible things. Unbelievably, since entering the Saudi Pro League last year, he has experienced a number of boos. To be honest, he sometimes has the appearance of a flame that is ready to go out while playing football.
Messi, on the other hand, joined Inter Miami in Major League Soccer (MLS) in July of last year after scoring nine goals to help Paris Saint-Germain win Ligue 1. He scored ten goals in seven games for the US team, helping Inter Miami win the first Leagues Cup.
Messi won his third best men’s player title, having already taken home the trophy in 2019 and 2022. He defeated Erling Haaland of Manchester City and Kylian Mbappé of PSG.
Messi’s Unyielding Passion: Defying Age and Elevating Legacy Beyond Accomplishments
Messi’s sustained presence in the game is just astounding. After they have accomplished so much, players often have a tendency to fade away. There is no longer the same drive to accomplish ever-higher goals. With Messi, however, it’s quite the opposite. Although his ability level as a football player has decreased from when he was in his 20s, his drive to win more and more competitions and trophies has only increased. He had earned his record-tying ninth Ballon d’Or only a few months before. These honors are a wonderful testament to his previous work. Messi is thus busy establishing his legacy at a time when other players are thinking about retiring.
It’s good to come back here and savor this time. to fulfill my ambition of winning the World Cup. The career I’ve had, all I’ve accomplished, and the good fortune to be a member of the greatest team in history are unimaginable. Following his Ballon d’Or victory in October, he said, “Everyone of them [the Ballon d’Or awards] is special for different reasons.”
As of right moment, Messi shows no signs of slowing down. He seems to have a few more years of playing football at the highest level remaining in him. He is guaranteed to compete in the Copa America later this year, even if he is unsure whether he will participate in the next World Cup in 2026. Naturally, as a perceptive person, he sets modest goals for himself in the future. However, supporters have a gut feeling that, barring any injuries, Messi will enter the US-Canada-Mexico competition with the same drive for glory that has defined the last 20 years of his football career, whether he is representing his clubs or his nation.