A letter to you, Lionel Messi
June 24 1987. 32 years ago Lionel Andres Messi was welcomed to the world and since then nothing has been the same. From playing on the dirt roads in Rosario with his childhood friends to crossing the oceans to become the leader of what is now his lifelong club FC Barcelona, Messi’s love story with football is beyond inspirational and beautiful. And that’s why June 24 never goes unnoticed. It’s a special day that makes you think back to everything the Argentine has achieved throughout his colorful career since his Newell’s days, a day that reminds you to never give up on your dreams, and a day that refreshes your memory and brings back smiles and emotions from all of his extraordinary goals.
Ten years. I have been witnessing your magic for 10 years now, 10 years of joy, 10 years of smiles that were impossible to wipe off my face and 10 years of enjoying football to the fullest. Lionel Messi, I breathe football because of you, I have followed my dreams because of you, I push myself everyday to be better because of you and because of the example you have set. Messi, you have changed everything about the game. It’s no longer just football, because when you are on the pitch, you take us to a different world, you take us on a beautiful journey where violins are in sync with your runs and dribbles. It’s a world that we wish we could forever live in, because once you teleport us there, you never want to come down. You make this sport more than just a sport. The way you handle the ball, the way you always stay up on your feet even when they knock you down, even when they build an entire plan around how to stop and mobilize you, you just keep going, you never stop. Your humbleness, and willingness to put everything on the line for the club that beats your name and for your national team that doesn’t deserve you is something that will go down in history. You have impacted my life and so many others in ways you cannot imagine. As an Iranian-American, I can say I feel just like any other Argentinian the second you put on that Albiceleste jersey. I cheer for you like there is no tomorrow and I grieve your losses as if I was in your shoes, because ultimately your happiness is our happiness, your victory is ours and your defeats sting us just as much.
If we were to talk about all the spectacular things you do on the pitch, we would be here for ages. Your incredible statistics and numbers are seldom an indicator to define your contribution and importance. You have done too much and the game will never be the same thanks to you. So for that, thank you for all that you do and will continue to do. You have given a new meaning to football, because at the end of the day you are just a kid that simply adores the game and puts your heart into every single match and we are eternally grateful.
If I stumbled upon a magical lamp and I could request three wishes, just know my first would be for you to be forever eternal, because without you football would be a grey world. Happy birthday Messi, this one’s for you