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Lionel "Leo" Andres Messi Cuccittini
Lionel "Leo" Andres Messi Cuccittini is an Argentine footballer, who also has the Spanish nationality. Messi has been playing for FC Barcelona since he was 14 years old. At age 24, he became FC Barcelona's record scorer, with 25 being the youngest player in the history of the Primera División to score 200 goals. He was voted World Player of the Year four times in a row from 2009 to 2012, and in 2015, he received this award again. With FC Barcelona, he won, inter alia, four Champions League title, eight times the Spanish championship and five times the Spanish Cup competition. He is captain and record scorer of the Argentine national team.
Messi is considered an excellent dribbler who can control the ball easily even at high speed. In addition, he is awarded a high game intelligence and overview on the field. Messi is able to prevail even in seemingly hopeless situations against multiple players. Real Zaragoza coach José Aurelio Gay described his playing style as "It was like watching Maradona play again. Except that this time he was more agile and much faster. " By the end of the season 2009/10, he played mostly right as an inverse winger. His versatility allowed a tactical interplay with a teammate in the attack center, which can cause confusion in the opposing defense formation.
With the arrival of Luis Enrique as the new coach of Barcelona and the simultaneous commitment of the Uruguayan center-forward Luis Suárez in 2014, Messi plays again increasingly on the right wing. Together with the Brazilian Neymar, the three South Americans form one of the strongest storm trio in the history of Barcelona. In the first three seasons, the goal scoring of the three strikers across all competitions was always over 100 goals per season. Messi is extremely flexible in this system. He often plays a bit withdrawn as a playmaker, without that he loses on goal scoring. Noticeable are also his diagonal passes from the right midfield to the left forward advancing Jordi Alba or Neymar, thus many free spaces and goal opportunities arise because Messi usually draws several opposing players. In this system, Messi shows that he is one of the most complete players currently, who can influence the game in almost any position and perfectly position his teammates.