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Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain seen during the UEFA Champions League group A match between Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig at Parc des Princes on Oct. 19, 2021 in Paris, France. Photo: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Lionel Messi: Six books to understand the soccer genius

In recent years, there have been a number of books and biographies about Messi. These are our recommendations.

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Whether you like soccer or not, Lionel Messi has become a legend that deserves to be written about. AL DÍA recommends six books (available in English and Spanish) to better understand the life and career of this Argentine footballer who traded his Barcelona stripes for PSG blue in 2021. 

The Barcelona Complex: Lionel Messi and the Making - and Unmaking - of the World's Greatest Soccer Club, by Simon Kuper, Steve West.

barcelona complex

Best-selling co-author of Soccernomics and longtime Financial Times journalist Simon Kuper tells the story of how FC Barcelona became the most successful club in the world — and how that era is now ending.

Kuper unravels exactly how the club became not just the world’s highest grossing sports team, but also one of the most influential organizations on the planet. While explaining this transformation, the author pays special attention to the club’s two biggest stars, Johan Cruyff and Lionel Messi, the latter who is arguably the greatest soccer player of all time. Messi joined Barça at 13 and more than anyone, has been the engine and standard-bearer of Barcelona’s glory. But his era is coming to an end — and with it — a once-in-a-lifetime golden run.

This book also charts Barça’s rise and fall.

Messi: 2022 Updated Edition (Football Superstar Biographies) by Luca Caioli 

caioli

Prolific, cool-headed and unerringly consistent, Lionel Messi is one of the most revered footballers in history. But did you know that his transfer to Barcelona was first agreed on a paper napkin? Or that an x-ray of his hand was what identified his growth hormone deficiency? And do you know why he refused to collect his first ever Champions League winner’s medal? Find out all this and more in Luca Caioli’s classic portrait of a footballing icon, featuring exclusive interviews with those who know him best and even Messi himself.

Italian sports writer Luca Caioli is also the best-selling author of Ronaldo and Neymar

Messi and Ronaldo: Who Is The Greatest? (World Soccer Legends) by Illugi Jökulsson  

jokulson

One diminutive and reserved, the other, tall and theatrical. One with six Ballons d’Or, and the other with five. There’s no doubt about it ― Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the best. But which one is better?

This lively book compares every aspect of the legendary rivals’ careers to let the reader decide. It compares their stats, including their 10 years of matchups in El Clásico, their club trophies, and their individual awards and milestones. It analyzes their styles of play, and how it has evolved throughout their careers. It also looks at how their rivalry continues off the field, in terms of endorsement deals, social media following, and philanthropic endeavors.

Lionel Messi and the Art of Living, by Andy West 

andy west

Lionel Messi and the Art of Living is a bold and insightful examination of a world-famous sporting hero's career from an entirely new perspective, providing a context extending far beyond the soccer field.

The idea that sports stars are role models is a cliché, but is also true in a way that is rarely appreciated. Although the details of Messi's story are already well known, The Art of Living examines afresh and anew his highs and lows, his successes and failures, his ongoing evolution and his endless struggle to succeed. It encourages readers to consider, to analyze — and above all — think about Messi's career from a different viewpoint, understanding how his journey can be related to our own lives on a meaningful and impactful level.

Containing exclusive, illuminating interviews with deep thinkers and high achievers from a number of different fields, the book delivers a fresh and inspiring approach to a global icon, ensuring that you will never look at Lionel Messi — or life — in the same way again.

Messi: A Biography, By Leonardo Faccio  

faccio

This is considered to be the best literary profile of Lionel Messi. 

Published in 2012, Argentine journalist Leonardo Faccio describes how Messi, as a talented youth player in Buenos Aires, left his home for Spain in search of the medical help his family could not afford to treat his rare hormone deficiency. Small in stature, but possessing tremendous natural gifts, Messi developed into a star at Barcelona’s famed Masia Soccer School.

In the book, Faccio has written not only a biography of an enigmatic celebrity, but a meditation on athletic genius, drawing on interviews with Messi himself, as well as with everyone from his family, teammates, childhood friends — even his favorite butcher. In-depth and intimate, soccer fans who enjoy watching Messi come alive on the field will delight as he comes alive on the page.

Messi, by Guillem Balague

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This is the first authorized book about Lionel Messi, and it talks about what has taken him to the heights, the stumbles and sacrifices he had to go through to become the best player in the history of soccer.

Guillem Balague has had unprecedented access to Messi's inner circle: his coaches, teammates and family. In addition, Pep Guardiola provided exclusive analysis of the player in the book. The result is an authoritative and compelling account of the wonderful mystery that is Messi.

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