• Lionel Messi is one of the best players in the world
  • He was an introverted player when he started playing
  • His rise to stardom was unexpected says former teammate

Football great Lionel Messi has been considered as one of the biggest names in football of the current generation. He has risen to stardom in the past two decades and has put up a highly decorated career.

The Argentina star has spent his entire time as a professional stint with FC Barcelona and has tallied multiple accolades as an athlete. He has the most goals in La Liga and history and has achieved the prestigious honor of winning Ballon d’Or multiple times. He has won it for a total of six times throughout his career.

Messi started with his club at the young age of 17 back in 2004. During that time, he didn’t give off the image that he would become one of the best of all time. His former teammate Christian Hidalgo was already in the club when Messi was just starting.

He shared that Messi was a very introverted young man and didn’t speak up. He only spoke when he was talked to or when it was deemed necessary. As a young player signed with the club, people saw his talent to be tremendous. But to rise to where he is now was something unexpected.

"Leo was an incredible talent. Everyone in the club knew that he would one day be a very good player," he told Goal.

"But the best ever? No. Nobody could have foreseen that. Leo's accomplishments are unique,” he added.

Hidalgo recalls that Messi started to loosen up and play along with the team as he started to gain confidence in his play. As the better he plays, the more he shows a more extroverted side of himself.

"As he played more and started scoring goals, he thawed a little and joked around more," he said.

With his simple start in his football career, Messi has now blossomed into a household name. He has been sponsored by several major brands and is one of the highest-earning athletes in the world. He continues to be an icon for sports fans as he has appeared in multiple issues of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.

Lionel Messi happily collected his sixth  Ballon d'Or in Paris on Monday
Lionel Messi happily collected his sixth Ballon d'Or in Paris on Monday AFP / FRANCK FIFE