Friday, Nov. 11, 2011

Lionel Messi

The hundreds of millions of passionate soccer fans around the world don't agree on much, but there's near unanimity that Lionel Messi is the greatest player of his generation. Unlike his compatriot Diego Maradona, the 24-year-old Argentine might not have lifted the most important prize of them all — a World Cup — but he's won everything that matters for his club, Barcelona (such as multiple La Liga and Champions League titles, including the defeat of Manchester United), and he is in the running for his third Ballon d'Or in a row. Leo's latest achievement: scoring his 200th goal for Barça, a staggering feat that took him only 286 games to achieve. In the process, Messi has brought the world's most popular sport to even greater heights of commercial appeal and success, as evidenced by the growing numbers of American kids wearing Messi's Barça jersey to school.