Lionel Messi: 4-Time Ballon D'Or Winner Made Right Call Sticking with Barca

Mike HoagCorrespondent IIFebruary 9, 2013

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 07:  Lionel Messi of Argentina receives the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2012 trophy on January 7, 2013 in Zurich, Switzerland.  (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)
Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

Loyalty is an unfortunate casualty to greed in today’s international sport landscape.

Forget about Lionel Messi making a move to the English Premier League, though. The four-time Ballon d’Or-winning superstar re-upped his contract with Barcelona and will be with the club until 2018, according to Yahoo! Sports' Martin Rogers.

Don't overreact, either—he has nothing to prove by finishing his career playing regular football in England. Notions otherwise are nothing but wishful thinking, as Messi has continued to echo statements that he wanted to finish his career with Barca.

"I accept you never know what can happen in the future but if it’s my decision and my decision alone then I would be happy to finish my playing career at the club,” he said in April 2012.

It was his decision, and he took less money, according to Rogers, to remain loyal to his team. His team—which he credits as much as himself for his accomplishments and unparalleled successes on the pitch.

If, by now, you haven’t already been convinced of this man’s pure and masterful grasp of the game, it is never going to come to you.

Even if he did make the switch and lead a team to a Premier League title, the doubters would still voice their critical opinions of his game and his legacy.

Is he the best of this era?

It’s hard to argue otherwise, no matter how badly the case can be made for the EPL’s perceived supremacy over international football.

The overall match-to-match competition may be greater in the EPL, but Real Madrid and Barcelona have stated their respective cases with multiple Champions League victories. Barca’s came more recently—thanks to Messi, of course.

When all is said and done and the sun sets on his long and productive career, no one will remember him for being someone who shied away from a challenge. People will remember the things he did on the pitch and relate them to future stars.

It’s already being done.

Every time a new player emerges as a superstar, in any league, he is immediately compared to Messi. That speaks volumes for 25-year-old. It speaks louder than he will ever have to. He’s not one to brag, and he doesn’t and won’t need to.

Messi’s decision is a respectable one. Loyalty, as mentioned earlier, is a rare commodity and is something he should be admired for, not criticized on.