Messi was included in TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2023 after leading his team to victory in the World Cup. Federer, who is arguably one of the greatest tennis players of all time, has written a tribute to Messi, comparing his football to art.
“Lionel Messi’s goalscoring records and his victories need not be recounted here. What stands out for me about Messi at 35 is his consistent greatness over so many years. This is so difficult to make and then maintain. He dribbles like a magician and his passes are works of art. His awareness and anticipation are almost incomprehensible,” Federer wrote.
“My career has just come to an end. Now I realize how much weight we athletes carry. But in everyday life, we don’t even realize it. For a football player like Messi, this weight it probably feels even more massive, because it represents both a world-renowned club and a very passionate country.
“Argentina’s victory in the World Cup was magnificent. The fact that millions of fans took to the streets of Buenos Aires to celebrate was an amazing moment in sport, witnessed by the whole world. Even those who do not follow football must- and realize the true impact of the world’s most popular game.”
Federer, who has announced his retirement from tennis in September 2022, also wrote about how he hopes Messi, 35, can continue his career for a while.
“As a child, Diego Maradona and Gabriel Batistuta were my favorite Argentinian players. I was lucky enough to meet them both. They inspired me. Now, Messi can inspire future generations,” he added.
“I can only hope that we will see his unique creativity and mastery for a little while longer. Don’t blink too often when Messi is on the pitch. You might miss something incredible from the man of the moment.”
Messi’s future remains uncertain, with the striker out of contract at the end of the season and amid speculation that he could return to his former club Barcelona. The Argentinian will return to action on Saturday when PSG play at Lens in Ligue 1.
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