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Thursday, 31 May 2012 21:11

So you think you know everything about The Flea?

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Graham Griffiths: I’ll bet not many of you know that Lionel Messi’s nickname among his professional colleges, friends and family is ‘The Flea’. This nickname comes with reference to his short stature of 1,69m.

Until Luca Caioli’s biography about arguably the greatest footballer in the world at the moment enlightens fans about ‘The Flea’.  Avid Messi followers should not pass up the chance to read this revealing and truly inspiring book because of what it reveals about this footballing superstar.


Caioli investigates the origin of “the boy who became a legend”, his relationships with his family, the coaches, and the doctors who treated his growth disorder.  There is  even a chapter in which Caioli interviews ‘the little maestro’  himself.

Caioli’s research is flawless as he converses with Leo’s mother Celia, his coaches at Grandoli and Newell’s Old Boys’, about the pre-teenage Messi.

Also interviewed for the biography include the former Barcelona coach fellow Frank Rijkaard, fellow Blaugrana (the Catalonian for ‘red-blue’, which is the Barcelona team’s nickname), team mates Gianluca Zambrotta, Jorge Valdano and many well-known Argentinian players, and Manchester City’s Pablo Zabaleta and ex-Chelsea defender Asier del Horno.

Each of these interviews, along with Caioli’s own research from the Camp Nou authorities, contributes to explaining Messi’s difficulties in moving countries, his struggle to be selected for the Argentina football team, his own extreme shyness, and his growth and development hindrances.  Along with his charismatic and innocent charm, passion, artiness and very much fiery style of play, his overwhelming humility is highlighted in lieu of his phenomenal success.

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