By John Cartwright
I have never met Lionel Messi, so I have no real knowledge of his character or personality. This ‘blog’ is my consideration and admiration of his playing skills and decision-making.
What has made Messi, the star player he is today? I am fully aware and convinced that his development through the different levels (junior/senior) has been a major influence on his playing style. This progression has followed a somewhat ‘uncontrolled’ yet ‘methodical’ manner to create the all-round playing greatness we see today.
So what does Messi, do that forms the playing qualities we see today.
- Messi, is two-footed but tends to favour his left side more in games. He tends to position himself on the right side of his team, between the opposition’s back players and their mid-field. From this position he uses his left foot to control passes to him or runs with it ‘screening’ the ball if a situation offers itself.
- SITUATION RECOGNITION. – (Space and Time) Messi, has developed a playing style that is centred on instant recognition of playing opportunities. This recognition has developed throughout his development and senior years in the game. He has acquired through these years, the ability to recognize situations — and if and when to exploit them in either outfield or crowded penalty areas.
- Messi, is extremely quick with and without the ball; this sporting asset is crucial in his playing style, for in my opinion, his game does not include ‘trickery’ on the ball. This alliance of situation recognition and speed form the playing qualities that have made him the player he has become.
Messi, has the ability to choose the right decisions — to play simply or to exploit attacking opportunities. The ability to recognize space and time factors in the game provides the chances to use his ability to make passes as required or run with the ball. Messi, according to the situation he recognizes, will play simply or more extravagantly his passing can be basic or thrilling to watch. Similarly, when he decides to run with the ball he has the ability to select options to use along his ‘pathway’. Messi. Does not attack (run at) defenders, he runs across them — mostly from right to left, in so doing he moves opponents and he will create and exploit attacking options accordingly.
I have seen very, very few players in my days in the game who have the subtle brilliance of Messi. In this country, the coaching system seems unable to find a teaching methodology that can produce anything beyond mediocrity, forcing our game and our players towards ‘roboticism’ year after year.
Lionel Messi, is a standard all should admire for his playing ability and his temperament as well as being great example of the combination of realistic teaching with the playing of the game — something we seem to dismiss here.