At the turn of the year, anticipation was surrounding sports fans across the globe ahead of major sporting events waiting to unfold.
It was a year that certainly lived up to expectation with several magical moments to remember such as, Andres Iniesta scoring the winning goal against Holland in the summer World Cup, the match point Rafael Nadal won to secure his second Wimbledon title and the final stages of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix which saw Sebastian Vettel crowned world champion in front of a roaring crowd. These are all memories that will live with sport fanatics for the rest of their lives.
For me though, one man in particular stole the show for pure domination in his sport during 2010, Lionel Messi. At just 5ft 7ich, the young Argentinean has won everything possible at club level for Barcelona with his personal trophy cabinet boasting four La Liga titles and an impressive two Champions League winner medals amongst others at the tender age of 23.
The Argentinean born forward spent most of his junior life battling against growth problems but today is regarded as the best footballer to ever grace the planet, picking up the prestigious Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award awards, for two consecutive years.
The football wizard started the New Year with a bang notching up an impeccable hat-trick against CD Tenerife, reaching his 100th club goal in the process, whilst Messi continued his rich vein of form by scoring an astonishing 11 goals in just five games, a spree that saw him make club history once again by becoming the first Barcelona player to score back to back hat-tricks in La Liga. The unstoppable forward constantly destroyed all records by single handily knocking Arsenal out of the Uefa Champions League, scoring an immaculate four goals – taking his career total to 25, overtaking the former leading goal-scorer in the competition which was set by the legendary Rivaldo.
After finishing the 2009/2010 season with 34 league goals, topping the Champions League goal scoring leader board with eight and having a La Liga title to his name, huge amounts of pressure were piled on Messi to perform on the world’s biggest stage, the summer World Cup, hosted in South Africa. Along with other top names, including Christano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, Messi failed to produce the kind of form which has seen him become part of a historic Barcelona team.
Messi started the 2010/2011 season in the same form he finished the last, scoring a hat-trick against Sevilla in their opening game, earning Barcelona their first piece of silverware of the new campaign, in the Supercopa de Espana. Messi finished October having scored three consecutive braces which lead to him finding the back of the net at least once in his next nine games, breaking his personal record of six.
In total Messi scored a remarkable 60 goals, shared between club and country in 2010, a target that he hopes to beat during 2011. The bar has been raised by Messi, a product of the Barcelona youth academy, who in time will mature into an even more unique human being. Lionel Messi is the world’s leading sportsman.
2011 has been a fruitful year for Messi too. Has anyone rivalled him for this years crown? I don’t think so..
By Miles Crallan – Arsenal fan