5 Questions You'd Love to Ask Barcelona's Lionel Messi
Now's your chance. You have his undivided attention. What are you going to ask him?
The usual prescriptive cliched questions that the Argentine can rattle off an answer to without even thinking.
Or will you engage him, perhaps enrage him? Will you give him some food for thought and leave him hungry for more?
Let's have a look at five questions you'd love to ask him...
Who Has Been Your Biggest Influence Either Personally or Professionally and Why?
There are many people that will have influenced Lionel Messi throughout his life.
His father Jorge has been a constant guide, more so since the permanent move to Barcelona when Leo was just 13 years old.
His obvious closeness to his mum was revealed when he showed off a tattoo of her, per Metro, whilst on holiday.
The presence of various youth coaches at La Masia have no doubt played a part in shaping his character but as he broke into the first team picture, Messi identified Ronaldinho as being a major factor in why he settled so well when talking to Barca TV (via Sambafoot.com):
I've always said, since the first moment I walked in the locker room, Ronaldinho and other Brazilians, Deco, Sylvinho and [Thiago] Motta welcomed me and provided me things, but mostly he (Ronaldinho), and I learned a lot at his side.
It was a big help. It's never easy to go into a locker room as a teenager and Ronaldinho made everything easier. I was fortunate to live near him and share many things with him.
I can say that he is a great person and that's the most important thing.
Fox Sports (h/t to Goal.com) also noted Messi's praise of ex-Blaugrana manager Pep Guardiola.
It was his astute tinkering of Messi's game and position, and the management skills to get the Argentine to buy into the project, that has given us the player we see today on the football pitch.
Arguably amongst the most influential acts in a professional sense...but Messi's biggest influence?
Which Single Aspect of Your Career Are You Most Proud Of?
If you take a moment to digest the many glittering highlights of Messi's career so far, this is actually a far more difficult question to answer than you think.
The player himself has often said that he does not care for individual awards, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais (via Inside Spanish Football), but four consecutive Ballon D'Or's cannot simply be ignored.
Scoring against every La Liga team consecutively is surely a record that will never be equalled and must go down as one of his best ever accomplishments.
An unbelievable return of 91 goals in a calendar year is also likely to stand the test of time.
Being a major part of Pep Guardiola's sextuple-winning side, a feat never before achieved in 150 years of football around the world.
Becoming Barcelona's all-time record scorer, and about to become leading El Clasico scorer, leading Champions League scorer and all-time highest scorer in La Liga.
None of these achievements are insignificant, and there are others.
Perhaps it won't even be anything to do with football.
After all, Messi plays an active part as a Unicef ambassador and is also figurehead for the Lionel Messi Foundation for which he said this:
One day, after a visit to a hospital, I realised the special dimension of a public figure. I understood that to these sick children the presence of a known player can be very helpful.
You are there and they smile, and for them it's a special joy because they are most eager to keep fighting, they really believe they will outgrow the disease and to pursue their dreams.
I reached my dream of becoming a footballer, and I want you to know that I fought hard to get there and I have to fight even harder to keep.
That effort and that success, I want to use it to help children who need it most, because that is what I chose. I get excited every day that a child smiles when he thinks that there is hope, when I see him happy.
So we decided to create the Foundation Leo Messi. And I will keep fighting to bring joy to children with the same force and intensity that I need to remain a footballer.
To choose just one single aspect from a hugely successful career would be almost impossible.
Why Are You Worth €300,000+ Per Week?
Imagine asking Lionel Messi that question. Would he be offended? Very likely.
A direct challenge to justify a disproportionate amount of money changing hands for his services.
It's a fair question to put to him though.
In these times of austerity, especially in Spain where unemployment is at a record high and the local economy is in disarray, how can it possibly be right to pay a FOOTBALL PLAYER a quarter of a million pounds every week?!
Messi may well point to his consistency of playing at the very top level week-in-week-out. The amount of times he has saved Barca with an important pass or goal. His perceived status as the best football player in the world, possibly ever.
You only get what you pay for and Messi himself doesn't set the agenda for salaries.
That's a maybe, but seriously...can a footballer ever be worth that amount of money?
Who Is the Real Lionel Messi?
Despite being one of the most famous people on the planet, no one really knows who the real Lionel Messi is.
Notoriously private, we can only speculate what sort of person he is behind the scenes.
How might he describe himself?
Driven. No one gets to the very, very top of their profession without having an incredible will and desire to get there. No matter what. David Villa might attest to that.
Shy might be near the top of the list. Any interviews he gives tend to be rare, serious and uncomfortable.
Having said that, Messi showed a fun-loving side after Barca had won the treble in 2009.
This footage shows a very different, and very drunk, Leo—and the reaction of his team mates is priceless.
If Thiago Wants to Become a Footballer, What Advice Would He Get from You?
It's clear to everyone just what an impact the arrival of Thiago Messi has had in his father's life.
This video highlights more than words could the bond between the two.
So, as the apple of his father's eye begins to grow and eventually tells his old man that he wants to follow in his footsteps...
Would "Lionel Messi's son" have his own identity on a football pitch? Would the weight of expectation be too much?
Would he become a target simply because of who he is?
Perhaps the advice would be against a football career for precisely those reasons.