Lionel Messi could already be considered one of the best players of all time. He is undoubtedly the greatest in the world today. His dribbling and ball control skills are unmatched. He has no peers. He is in a class of his own. But what does the future hold for the Argentine? Will it be as successful as the present. No one knows. But here's what I think.
Messi said in a recent interview that he knows he will win a World Cup someday. I don't see it happening. I see him entering 2014 Brazil with determination. He will put up a stellar performance alongside Madrid players Gonzalo Higuain and Angel di Maria, but he won't get the trophy. Why? Because Brazil, the hosts, are looking very dangerous. They have young stars like Neymar who will be ready for the tournament, and the home crowd will be their motivation.
After their performance against Manchester United, Barcelona look better than ever. How many more championship runs do they have left? I'd say that Real Madrid is the only team that can stop them from getting it. Jose Mourinho is a specialist in Champions League matches, and Madrid always have unlimited talent on their squad. Messi will get a couple more, and Mourinho and others will take the rest.
Messi IS Barcelona. He's their greatest possession. I don't think anything could convince him to leave. Barcelona practically raised him. They transformed him into the player he is. He'll be at Nou Camp until his farewell game.
Only 5 players in the past have been Player of the Year 3 times. (either Ballon d'or or FIFA World Player of the Year.) Those players are Ronaldo, Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini, Marco van Basten, and Zinedine Zidane. Messi has won 2 in a row so far, and it looks like a third is in store for him. I'd say many more are coming. At least 5. He's only 23, and most footballers reach their prime in their mid to late 20s. Messi's trophy cabinet will be filled by the end of his career.
If his career ends in Barca, there's no doubt about it. He's already third in goals. And with at least a decade left, he will break the appearance record easily.