Believe it or not, there was a time when not everyone was singing Lionel Messi’s praises.
As Messi began his rise as a football super star, he wasn’t known well outside of Spain and Argentina. This would soon change as the youngster broke into Barcelona’s starting XI in 2006.
But before he became a global name, footy nerds started to notice his talent while playing the ever-popular video game Football Manager. The initial reviews of his digital skills in online forums from those who bought him were certainly mixed:
"To be honest I don’t rate him at all."
"He is absolutely fantastic on my game, wonderkid."
"Both times he’s played sh*te, nowhere as good as his stats suggest."
"He is already one of the best players in real life, so I can’t wait to see how good he gets as he gets older."
"Doesn’t look anything special, but I’ve added him to my shortlist."
It was late 2005 and early 2006; Messi was only a figure in their game. Most hadn’t seen him play in real life, but one seemingly savant-like user had this to say:
"I wouldn’t be surprised if he got World Player of the Year in a few years time."
Not a bad prediction, was it?
Image courtesy of Getty