I can’t accept defeat: Messi
How did Messi become ‘Messi’? How was the childhood of this magical footballer? He told the same story in an interview with sports journalist Tom Watt in 2015.
Messi is determined to win the title of Argentina in Copa America.
Messi is determined to win the title for Argentina in Copa America. Photo: Reuters
I was born in Rosario, the largest city in the province of Santa Fe. We lived in a beautiful, shabby house in the Barrio Las Heras neighborhood in the south of the city. The house is as before. Although we left that house when we were young, we still go there whenever we get a chance. Many friends are met, who have not changed a bit. Of course, not only friends, but they are also my family. Five elder brothers and cousins live there. I remember we used to play football during the holidays. Sometimes among themselves, sometimes in alliance with another party.
I want only one gift – a football
I got my first football at a very young age. How old then, three or four? Who gave you a gift? From that day on, I wanted a present for any occasion—football, be it Christmas or my birthday. I used to collect football. I would not take it out of the house, for fear of someone spoiling it. Messi: I can’t accept defeat
There was green around the house, but no place to play football. A short distance away was an abandoned army post. We used to play in a little space between two fences. But our football matches are mainly held on the streets. The roads at that time were unpaved, dry dirt. Everyone in our little neighborhood knew everyone, so mom didn’t worry too much.
I started playing at the age of five. In the beginning, the brothers did not take part in the game. I am small, not only because of this but because the brothers used to play with the elders. When I played, the adults couldn’t take the ball away from my feet. The brothers were afraid, I don’t know, they got angry and kicked my legs! However, I do not remember these things, I heard from them.
The journey to the club begins: Messi says
I joined the local Grandley Club while playing on the street. Not just me, all of our family have played at this club at one time or another. My father was the coach of the club. Sunday spent the whole day with Grandoli. I used to play with the whole family. Maybe I’m playing, my uncle is among the elders on the opposing team. The whole day passed like this.
At that time, seven people played in each team. We played matches with teams from other neighborhoods in Rosario. I got the chance to play the first match because of my grandmother. There was no place for a little boy like me on Grandley’s team. One day, my grandmother sent me forward as an older person was not available. The coach did not agree at first but later did not object. Messi: I can’t accept defeat
When I started playing with my peers, I got my father as a coach. I used to go to school and run with the ball. After training at Grandley’s field, I would come back with food in my mouth. Now the game is on the street next to the house. We used to play nothing but football. Even at home, I had the ball on my feet most of the time. My brothers didn’t have to worry about me, only the neighborhood boys looked after me. They knew me for playing. At that time, the age reached eight or nine. There was no more fear of being kicked. Messi, I can’t accept defeat
Learn by yourself
To be honest, I never considered any player as my ‘hero’. Like all Argentines, I was a Maradona fan. I used to watch the video of his game with fascination, I still remember that memory. When Pablo Aimar first arrived, his game was also very good. I grew up playing on the streets with my brothers and cousins. I learned by watching them. My family taught me survival skills, but football skills I learned on my own.
I don’t watch football much now. But at that time I used to go to watch games regularly. I used to watch the matches of Rosario’s two big professional football teams, Newell and Old Boys, with my father, uncles, and cousins. This wish seemed like a dream to me. I never thought the dream would come true, so powerfully true! I used to play as a child just because I love the game. But somewhere deep in my heart, I had the dream of becoming a footballer. I wanted to play on the field where the Newells play, one day I will also play.
Messi, I can’t accept defeat
This wish was fulfilled very quickly. After about a year and a half with Grandoli, I started training with Newells. With Newell in the first 11-man team, he got the experience of playing on the big field. It was during this time that I first went to the doctor because I was short. I was shorter than my peers. But when it comes to football, this deficiency never occurred to me. Before the start of the game, the opposing team’s players would look on, a little uncomfortable. But when the game started, when the ball came to my feet, their attitude changed.
I was shorter than my peers. But when it comes to football, this deficiency never occurred to me. Before the start of the game, the opposing team’s players would look on, a little uncomfortable. But when the game started, when the ball came to my feet, their attitude changed.
Newell sent me to the clinic. The doctor did the tests and said that I have a growth hormone in my body. I was growing, but at a slower pace than usual. The doctor said, with treatment, I will be able to grow like other children. I was about 11 or 12 when the treatment started. Took treatment for almost a year, father bore all the expenses. After arriving in Europe, Barcelona took charge of the expenses. Although that was not the purpose of my coming to Europe.
I was only 13 when I came to Spain. Initially, I came for 15 days of training. The whole family moved to Spain the next time they attended Camp Nou. It’s great to be able to do what I’ve always wanted to do. It is strange and difficult. Messi, I can’t accept defeat
This new life had nothing in common with my previous life. The boys I trained with in Barcelona didn’t grow up like me. The most unfortunate thing is that when Khushi left the house and called my friends and started playing on the street, that was not possible here. I am still Argentinian at heart, my nature and character are like Argentines. Although I have been in Barcelona for a long time and have settled into life here.
Now it seems that when we played football in the street as children, the brothers and cousins sometimes lost on purpose. They would have won me because they knew that if I lost, they would be sad. When I started playing here at the age of 13, I didn’t want to give up. It was amazing to me when my teammates accepted even after losing. Messi, I can’t accept defeat
I can’t give up: says Messi
One trait I brought with me from Argentina was an aversion to defeat. defeat; In any case, I can’t agree. I am always excited on the field. Now it seems that when we played football in the street as children, the brothers and cousins sometimes lost on purpose. They would have won me because they knew that if I lost, they would be sad. When I started playing here at the age of 13, I didn’t want to give up. It was amazing to me when my teammates accepted even after losing. Messi, I can’t accept defeat
I go to Rosario when I still have the chance during the summer holidays, at Christmas, or with the national team. Barrio meets old friends. However, the days of the children there have changed. Now parents have to think about the safety of their children. Sometimes I miss those childhood days. When friends say, ‘We’re going to travel, you too.’ Most of the time I have to say, ‘No, there’s a match tomorrow.’ But I don’t regret it. Because this is the life I wanted. I’m happy because after all, I want to play football. Because I love to play, it doesn’t feel like ‘work’ to me. I still play with the same joy as when I was a kid. Messi, I can’t accept defeat