At the age of 36, just a few months after setting foot on the American field, Lionel Messi was awarded the “Most Outstanding Athlete of 2023” award by America’s Time magazine. What does this title say?People are trying to exaggerate the problem by using the word “history” unnecessarily. For example, Lionel Messi is the first male player in history, or the first non-American athlete in history, to be honored by Time magazine; or Messi just won an “unprecedented” award. It’s not wrong, but… loving each other like that is equal to hating each other.Time magazine’s Outstanding Athlete of the Year title was only awarded for the first time in 2019, and right from the first award, the US women’s soccer team was honored. The United States is always the world’s No. 1 powerhouse in women’s football and is ranked 12th in FIFA’s men’s team rankings (2 places higher than Germany, higher than every non-European or South American team) – nowhere else. No stranger to soccer!
Once upon a time, Pele went to America to play football and became the first black person to appear on the cover of Life magazine. That’s the social influence, but after all, people don’t know what to praise if they don’t talk about that social milestone event. Now, the fact that Messi was honored by Time magazine does not indicate any great cultural and social influence. This is first and foremost a pure sports title, and the sports aspect must be emphasized to clearly see Messi’s value.
Remember: Messi is 36 years old. His competitors are superstars like Novak Djokovic (tennis) or Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe (soccer). Meaning, a Messi who is said to be on the “other side of his performance slope” is still recognized by the tournament owner as the world’s No. 1 top athlete in 2023. There are no restrictions on nationality or border in the title. This. There is also no limit to the level of interest in each specific sport. America is always the number 1 sports power in the world. And now, an American magazine has just named Messi the number 1 sportsman of the year. Before Messi, Time awarded the US women’s soccer team, Simone Biles (gymnastics), LeBron James (basketball), Aaron Judge (baseball) – all of them are true sports monuments.
On his first appearance in an Inter Miami shirt, Messi scored the decisive goal at the last minute, using his forte of direct free kicks. Then he kept scoring until he brought Inter Miami the first championship title in this club’s history, in the Leagues Cup – a tournament consisting of professional clubs from the US and Mexico.
That is the real Messi. Depending on the point of view, one can affirm that this star who just won the 8th “Golden Ball” is the best player in the world of all time (before Messi appeared, the record for the number of times winning the Golden Ball was number 3), but whether he is still as excellent as before or not, Messi is always aiming for victory, always determined to succeed as long as he is still playing football.