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Best soccer players in the world
41 appearances, 13 goals
2006: 3 app, 1 goal
Lionel Messi is the best pound-for-pound soccer player in the world, and perhaps of all time. At 22, Messi has won just about everything there is to win, both individually and in club soccer. Missing is any sort of hardware with Argentina, aside from an Olympic gold medal. Messi’s game relies on its unpredictability and magnificent control of the ball, which seldom demurs to anything Messi asks it to do. Listed at a charitable 5-foot-7, he’s even a good header. While transcendent with his club, Barcelona, in the last few years (his 17 goals this season are tied for the most in Spain), the knock on Messi has been that he doesn’t match that dominance for Argentina. For the most part, this is blamed on Argentina manager Diego Maradona’s refusal to deploy him in his natural position — on the right, allowing him to cut in — and posting him behind a deep striker instead. Maradona, one of the best of all time as a player, has named Messi his successor as Argentina’s soccer savior, a label that has proved disastrous for all others so designated previously by Maradona.
Scouting thumbnail: Technical genius with a low center of gravity and pace who can break down any defense off the dribble and conjure something out of nothing. Struggles when used as a striker and prefers playing out wide and cutting in on his left foot.
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