LIONEL Messi’s father insists his son has always remained grounded throughout his career as he marked the 10th anniversary of his Barcelona debut yesterday.
Messi came off the bench for Barça during their clash against Espanyol at the age of just 17, and has since gone on a meteoric rise to become one of the greatest players the world has ever seen.
The 27-year-old is now a four-time world player of the year and his 361 goals from 434 games have inspired his club to 21 trophies, including six La Liga titles and three Champions League crowns.
The Argentina captain can break yet another record on Saturday when Barcelona face Eibar as he lies just two off Telmo Zarra’s six-decade-old La Liga scoring record of 251 goals.
Yet despite all the success and accolades that have come his way – and the criticism that has sometimes accompanied it – Jorge Messi says his son has not let any of it go to his head.
“There are times when there is too much praise and other moments when the criticism is excessive,” he told Cadena Cope. “You have to stop somewhere in the middle and simply look forward.
“He reads and listens to everyone and I don’t know how he does it but he doesn’t attach much importance to either the good or the bad.
“People don’t know him. He is a very normal lad, like any other. He spends time with his family, he has fun, he tries to enjoy life. He isn’t any different.”
Meanwhile, Jorge Messi was at pains to stress that his son has had nothing to do with his own tax affairs which have led to an investigation into alleged fraud.
Lionel Messi just needs three more goals to become the all-time leading scorer in La Liga history. Lionel Messi has struck 361 goals in 434 games for Barcelona. Messi and his father have been accused of defrauding the Spanish state of more than 4 million euros by filing incomplete returns for the years 2007 to 2009.
The pair have denied any wrongdoing, and Jorge Messi is adamant his son should not be included in the ongoing investigation. – ESPN