Wednesday, Apr. 18, 2012

Lionel Messi

A month ago, in the midst of his scoring a record five Champions League goals in one game, Lionel Messi chipped the ball over the keeper from inside 12 [yards]. I don't think people realize how hard that is to do. It would be impossible for me. I would probably end up with my foot stuck in the turf, and the ball would end up who knows where. Messi, 24, is unbelievably talented and incredibly humble. He makes you hold your breath every time he touches the ball. It never seems to leave his feet. His love of the game and the pride he feels while playing for Barcelona and Argentina are palpable. Then you meet him, and you are reminded that he is only 5 ft. 7 in. (170 cm). He was a bit shy — some of that can be attributed to the language barrier — but I was able to watch their training, and it was clear he was an incredible teammate. He was simply one of the guys — no better, no worse than anyone else on the team — and you can tell he respects his teammates and loves the training environment. He certainly has the potential to be remembered as the best player of all time, and I am so grateful for his approach to the game in this day and age. Clearly he plays because he loves it, and it shows every time he takes the field.

Hamm is a two-time FIFA world player of the year