Three Lessons From Lionel Messi’s Parents and Community

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Lionel Messi's Parents, Jorge Messi and Celia Cuccittini

When the father of two netted his 500th career goals for his club on the 92nd minute of the Barcelona 3-2 win against Real Madrid, the whole Santiago Bernabeu went agog and celebration was wild among millions of fans across the world – Lionel Messi has done it again!. The present epoch of El Clasico has no doubt been accentuated by the popularity of the two competing world best footballers, Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo. But the edge became more defined as Lionel’s Barca eclipsed Christano’s Madrid on 23rd April, 2017. At the peak of that glitz when Messi completed his brace, I could not but call to mind that this was the same man whose first goal ever for the senior team of the club was canceled. This was the same man who could have been abandoned due to stunted growth occasioned by Growth Hormone Deficiency.

Born in Rosario, Argentina on 24th June, 1987, third of four children, Lionel’s father is Jorge Messi and his mother is Celia Cuccittini. Did you know that we might not have heard of Lionel Messi today if he was neglected or left at the mercy of the circumstances that surrounded his boyhood. But for the relentless care and loving nurture he got from his parents and the community, this era might have been robbed of witnessing the possibilities that accompanies the decisiveness of man over some occurrences of nature. Here is a three-point summary of the lessons we could learn from the foundational relationships that produced the five times FIFA world footballer of the year, Lionel Messi.

Lesson One: Active Sense of Responsibility
Lionel’s natural proclivity for football was discovered at a very tender age while playing with his elder brothers Rodrigo and Matias, and his cousins, Emmanuel and Maxmiliano. At age four, he was made to join Grandoli, a local club coached by his father. His maternal grandmother was the one responsible for accompanying him to training and matches. The sense of responsibility demonstrated by his father and his grandmother, being the first responder to the stardom they envisioned in him was quite commendable. At age six, Messi joined Newell’s Old Boy, another Argentine’s football club where he played for the next six years and scored almost 500 goals.

Messi’s orientation family members didn’t just sit around and clap for him while running passionately after the round leather, they took action. A boy of four or six wouldn’t have known how to join a club except some people took it upon themselves to lead him in the right direction. As a parent or a guardian, what responsibility are you taking in nurturing the talent you are noticing being exhibited by the little ones, apart from just clapping and feeling good? Your action today can be the life-time opportunity required for that child’s greatness in life. Please do something!

Lesson Two: Doing All It Takes in Nurturing A Child
Between age six and twelve, it was noticed that Messi wasn’t growing well. He was smaller than normal for his age, and of course in comparison with mates. By age 13, he was officially diagnosed as deficient of essential growth hormones. There were two options, watch him become old as a dwarf or take him through an expensive, long term medical treatment. Jorge Messi and Celia Cuccittini, Messi’s parents did not settle for the easy way out, though too poor to foot the bill. Having discovered his natural aptitude and believed so much in him, they were going around, negotiating with clubs to leverage his innate strength and pay for his treatment in return for his football service. They didn’t get any club to do that in the whole of Argentina, not even Newell’s Old Boy. Amazingly, they did not give up. They left South-America for Europe in search of help. They were ready to go not just the extra mile, but until the problem is solved. I could imagine them saying, “as long as there is a medical solution, this boy cannot end up a dwarf. This boy must fulfill his potential.”

Respite came when the Spanish FC club, Barcelona agreed to foot the expensive bill. Then Messi’s career progressed at Barca where he played for all the age group until he featured for their senior team along side the legendary Ronaldinho, at age 17. On his 18th birthday, Messi signed his first contract as a senior team player of Barcelona.

Interesting, isn’t it? So, how much are you willing to do before giving up on that child that is considered inadequate? Lionel Messi was as inadequate, but his parents did ALL it required, and today we are privileged to witness the reward of a resolute diligence. Millions of fans are being entertained and a lot of businesses are being generated, because of one man, on whom the community never gave up.

Lesson Three: Family Values of Focus, Persistence, and Relentless Love
Theirs is a football-loving family. They discovered this and focused a family career around the game. When they experienced setback due to Lionel’s condition, they remain resolute and persistent in their pursuit of a rewarding future in the sport industry. Never say never in life! In order to ameliorate the limitation of his diminutive stature, Messi had to hire a personal trainer to increase his muscle mass. He did improved, though nothing much could be done about his height. Unbelievably, after watching his robot-like performance on the field, sport scientists had to study him, and have discovered that his shortness provide him with lower center of gravity which aided his efficiency and swift turning capacity with unprecedented stability. Weakness can become strength when we remain focused and persistent.

The relentless love that characterize his family remains intact till date. Messi’s father is his manager and agent while his mother and brother manage his charity projects. Rivalry and envy within the family or community is nothing but senseless. The Messis have shown us how true love and team spirit can foster family prosperity and enduring legacy in the anal of history. For many years to come, whenever the ‘who is who’ of football industry, such as Pele and Diego Maradona are being mentioned, a certain Lionel Messi will always feature in the hall of fame.

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