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4.5 out of 5 stars33
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 7 January 2014
It's a big book at well over 600 pages (and on top of the words there are dozens of great colour photos as well), but then it's dealing with a big subject. It postulates the idea that Messi may well be the greatest footballer of all time. Even an old man like me who watched Pele from his emergence in the 1958 World Cup as a seventeen-year-old is persuaded by this book that this is more than a credible assertion. As you might expect from Guillem Balague this is no half-baked attempt to tell the Messi story which we all hope is far from finished. Guillem is a son of Catalunia and even though his own club is Espanyol, he knows and intimately understands how things work with Barcelona FC of which Messi is such an integral cog. Of course he already had such a good background feel for his subject In this book having reported on Spanish football for many years both for Skysports and for AS the Spanish daily newspaper and having just written the Pep Guardiola story as well. With his contacts and his in-depth research both in Europe and in Argentina he gets to the heart of why and how Lionel Messi has become such a great player. Whilst this book doesn't claim to be an authorised biography (there isn't one!) it has been written with the approval and full cooperation of Lionel and his family.
It's a great read and I thoroughly recommend it.
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on 30 January 2014
I really enjoyed this biography - much better than the normal cut and paste jobs that are the norm of sports biographies. Although Messi seems to be everywhere in the football press and high level advertising, there is much untold in his story and this book goes into lots of details on his background. The story is, of course, still unfolding but I would recommend this as the best version of Messi's story that I have read so far.
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on 3 January 2014
Guillem Balagué has for a long time been the definitive voice on all matters involving Spanish football. This weighty, well informed, access all areas tome on Leo Messi probably the greatest player we have ever seen is nothing short of a masterpiece and every bit as good, if not better, than his superb, biography of Pep Guardiola. What stands out above all is the level of detail revealed by Balagué and the endless number of people, from Messi's first schoolfriends and teachers to his immediate family that were prepared to talk with him about the Argentinian maestro. That so many people were prepared to grant their time to talk about Messi is just tribute, to the trust and confidence placed in Balagué by both the player himself and his family. Unfailingly gripping, often moving, yet never sycophantic the book weighs in at around 650 pages and will unquestionably go down as the definitive assessment of the genius that is Leo Messi. Unquestionably one of the best sports books I have ever read
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on 7 June 2014
I bought this book to read on holiday. I'm a big fan of Messi on the pitch - not only his incredible talent but the way he conducts himself. No diving, no histrionics - that's what makes him the best for me. Ronaldo for example doesn't always set a great example with his conduct on the pitch.

I knew Guillem Balague from his excellent punditry on the Sky Sports coverage of Spanish football but hadn't read his work as a journalist/author before. He expertly chronicles the story of Messi from a young age to the World's best footballer. It is clear Balague did incredible research and conducted many interviews to build the full picture of Messi's life with his family and as a footballer. The book is fantastically written and as much of a pleasure to read as it is to watch this incredible talent on the place he calls home - the football pitch. A must read for any fan of the wonderful game.
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on 10 December 2013
Immersing, gripping, behind the scenes account of arguably the greatest player in football history. His story is told in an honest and respectful series of first hand interviews from those closest to the man himself.

Over 600 pages of well structured detail that's seamlessly written and flows off the pages. Worthy of the name and does justice for the genius that is Leo Messi.
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on 26 December 2014
A tour de force about the greatest player over the last ten years without a doubt. Guillem balague is immensely talented. It answers a lot of the questions about the messi legend. His closeness to his family is self evident. Balague shows the messi we needed to know. A powerful force in running of the team. Every manager tries to get him on side as quick as they can. Messi the man comes over as a private man who is respectful, makes the odd mistake and is human off the pitch. Great read dont be putt off by its size.
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on 14 January 2016
Spelling mistake on the first page! The whole book is littered with them, Guillem you need a better sub editor!

The book is also rather long and meandering. You soon get bored of constant quotes from people talking about the first time they saw Messi play and how it took their breath away.

I feel bad being so critical of this book - the author is an outstanding journalist with superb contacts and there's a lot of research in this book. I have read his book on Ronaldo which is far, far better.
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on 5 January 2016
Excellent insight into the man but more than that. It places Messi in the context of his family, the local community and the country itself ande the weight on his shoulders to succeed at all levels. Guillem has again gone beyond the reciting the obvious, thoroughly research balancing the perspectives people have of this genius and fascinating comparison with Ronaldo, leaving the reader to decide the prefered approach. This is much more than a book on football. A great read - good job Guillem
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on 17 March 2014
Great book on the legend that is Lionel Messi.

If only now he could lift the World Cup for Argentina.
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on 24 September 2014
One of, if not THE greatest to ever play the game. Most certainly the greatest footballer I've ever seen play. This book is brilliant; informative from beginning to end, the rise of Lionel Messi is thoroughly engrossing. Much praise to Guillem Balague also for an exceptional book.
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