Lionel Messi is sublime, he’s the standard, he is football

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There are countless moments of glory you could pick out from Lionel Messi’s career to try and illustrate his elusive genius, but it is a much more mundane example that perhaps best explains it.

“Even in training, you just couldn’t get near him,” one source from Barcelona says. “It’s just funny at times because he is so insanely good.”

The point of this is that it’s training, so it’s everyday, and this is what it’s necessary to get your head around when it comes to Messi and why he is the greatest. Not just of the century, but maybe all time.

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He has made the utterly remarkable utterly routine. You only have to watch him in any given match. Messi produces so many pieces of play that would be the highlight of anyone else’s career if they were capable of them. For him, they’re just another moment of a game. It is almost an extra-sensory next level.

And this everyday excellence applies to almost every element of his game. Look at the abilities that he could genuinely be considered the best at, and not just in the modern game. There is: the frequency with he scores fantastically precise free-kicks; the perfection of seemingly impossible through balls few would see let alone then try; the ease with which he beats so many of the best defenders and – of course – the frequency with he scores. He has about three “signature” finishes, from the chip to the precise drive to the low slot powered into the corner.

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This completeness, however, goes even deeper. It is more fundamental. It is the simplicity of the sublime.

Consider how Messi actually plays. Ther

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