I was just a kid when I first saw Lionel Messi play. Number 30 on the back of his shirt, fluffy hair. When he entered the pitch in his first-ever match with Barcelona, I remember thinking that he should wear a headband. There’s no way that hair doesn’t end up blocking his vision. Messi was just a kid, too. A seventeen-year-old kid with fluffy hair, a tucked shirt and a deadly left foot.

The kid from that day is now a grown man, worn out by the years of burden behind him. As a 26-year-old, he has won more than most players ever do, he has scored more than the vast majority of players ever will, and yet, he’s the most criticized player in the world.

I know you think I’m exaggerating. But when I look at Messi today, his frown, his focus, the inhumane responsibility he shoulders, I know…

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