Lionel Messi is adored by football fans all over the world because of his amazing skills on the pitch. However, very few people are aware of his humble beginnings before his football and global success. Despite many odds stacked up against him, Lionel Messi was able to turn them around and become part of the most successful club in history, F.C. Barcelona. Additionally, he rose to captain his country’s national team, Argentina.
Messi’s remarkable story is in many ways similar to John Steinbeck’s book, ‘Of Mice and Men.’ The book narrates the compelling story of two misfits struggling to find a foothold in a harsh and unforgiving world. The following article examines five reasons why Lionel Messi’s personal life bears significance to the story depicted in John Steinbeck’s critically acclaimed book.
The book narrates the experiences of the main characters George Milton and Lennie Small. They are immigrants in California struggling to find a job during the Great Recession that plagued the United States in the 1930s.
1. Both Lionel Messi and the Book’s Main Characters Had Great Dreams
Lionel Messi was born in Argentina on June 24th, 1987. Argentina, as a country, adores football. At a young age, Messi had dreams of becoming a successful football star. He joined a young academy at a local club where his Father coached him. His talent could be seen from an early age. Messi’s childhood was characterized by numerous football matches, most of which accompanied by his late grandmother. However, his dreams were cut short when he was diagnosed by growth hormone deficiency at the age of 10.
In the same way, the book’s main characters Lenny and George, have many dreams of being successful in life. They hope to one day own a farm together. Regardless of the situation, they hold the notion that they will be successful in the future and accomplish their dreams of owning a farm. This can be seen multiple times in the text. For instance, George and Lenny have been quoted from the book saying, “O.K. Someday—we’re gonna get the jack together and we’re gonna have a little house and a couple of acres an’ a cow and some pigs and—”
2. Relatable Experiences such as Death and Loneliness
After being diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency, Messi’s childhood took a turn for the worst. He was always in and out of hospital undergoing treatment for this condition. Frequent trips to the hospital, coupled with the reality that he could never step on the football pitch again, had a toll on Messi’s childhood. Not only that, but the loss of his grandmother also made it tough for him as he lost his friend and companion.
Such lonely experiences hold relatable significance to John Steinbeck’s book. Even the name of the town ranch where the novel is set is called ‘Soledad’ which when translated from Spanish to English means solitude or loneliness. Messi loves such a book because of its relatable themes. Candy, Crooks, and the wife to Curley are all characters in the book depicted as lonely. Even towards the end of the book, one of the main characters in George is lonely as his friend passes away. Death is a relatable theme that has significance to Messi’s childhood as both he and George lost family and friends, respectively.
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3. The Book Highlights the Significance of Meaningful Relationships
However, lonely Messi’s childhood was, he always reiterated that his grandmother was always with him. His grandmother, father, and mother would occasionally accompany a young Lionel Messi to his academy games. Unfortunately, Lionel Messi’s grandmother passed when he was a young boy. He even attributes his goal celebration (where he looks up and points to the sky) to her. Although the diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency was tough and, to some extent, lonely on a young Lionel Messi, he had the support of his mother and father. He always had a special bond with his grandmother.
As seen in the book Of Mice and Men, the meaningful friendship of George and Lennie helped them during the tough times they faced in America. In contrast with other characters such as Candy and Curley’s wife, who are isolated and lonely, the book emphasizes the importance of meaningful relationships.
4. Barriers to Success
As highlighted above, Lionel Messi had to overcome many challenges to make it in his football career. For instance, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. The doctors ruled out any potential return to the football pitch. However, a young and determined Lionel Messi was eager to recover from the condition and return to chasing his dreams.
Lionel Messi finds this book appealing because of the relatable barriers to success that the main characters faced. The main characters in George and Lenny find themselves powerless and unable to chase their dreams because of the presence of financial and societal hurdles. In the same way, the book is inspiring, just like Lionel Messi’s story.
5. The Relatable Theme of Fate
Lionel Messi went on to become one of the world’s most successful football stars. In fact, he went on to become Barcelona’s leading goal scorer, breaking records set almost 50 years ago. From a mutual’s standpoint, fate inevitably led Messi to become arguably the best footballer that ever lived.
Also known as ‘El Magnifico,’ Messi loves the book Of Mice and Men, because of the detailed theme of fate. Life can be unpredictable at times, leading us to believe that fate will eventually take its course in all our lives, and Messi is no different.