LIONEL MESSI – DIEGO MARADONA’S SUCCESSOR

Lionel Andrés Messi (born June 24, 1987 in Rosario) is an Argentine football (soccer) player. Lionel Messi started playing football at a very early age in his hometown’s Newell’s Old Boys. From the age of 11, he suffered from a hormone deficiency and as Lionel’s parents were unable to pay for the treatment in Argentina, they decided to move to Barcelona, Spain.

In the 2003-2004 season, when he was still only 16, Messi made his first team debut in a friendly with Porto that marked the opening of the new Dragao stadium. The following championship-winning season, Messi made his first appearance in an official match on October 16, 2004, in Barcelona’s derby win against Espanyol at the Olympic Stadium (0-1).

With several first team players seriously injured, the services of several reserve team players were called upon, and Messi became a regular feature of Barça squads. On May 1, 2005, he became the youngest player ever to score a league goal for FC Barcelona against Albacete when Messi was only 17 years, 10 months and 7 days old.

He was offered the chance to play for the Spain national football team, but declined, prefering to wait for the opportunity to play for the country of his birth. In June 2004 he got his chance, playing in a U-20 friendly match against Paraguay. In June 2005 he starred for the Argentina U-20 team that won the Football World Youth Championship played in The Netherlands. Messi picked up the Golden Boot as top scorer with 6 goals, and the Golden Ball for the best player of the tournament. Despite his youth, Lionel has already drawn comparisons with Diego Maradona, arguably the best football player of all time.

On September 25, 2005 Messi obtained a Spanish citizenship and was finally able to make his debut in this season’s Spanish First Division. He had previously been unable to play because FC Barcelona had filled up all of their quota of non-EU players. Messi’s first outing in the UEFA Champions League at the Nou Camp was on Sept 28 against Italian club Udinese. He impressed with some great passing and a seemingly telepathic relationship with Ronaldinho that earned him a standing ovation from the 70,000-odd Nou Camp faithful. On December of that year, the Italian newspaper Tuttosport awarded him the Golden Boy 2005 title for the best under-21 player in Europe, over Wayne Rooney and Lukas Podolski.

In September 2005, Messi was given an improved and extended contract until 2014.

Checkout the ASCII Art of Lionel Messi in the below link. Please use Lucida Console font to view the art in Notepad. Before that in Notepad go to Format and Uncheck the Word Warp and then Go to Font and Reduce the Font Size to 3 to 4 pt. Use only Lucida Console Font.

http://www.4shared.com/document/HhtaNZ50/Lionel_Messi_ASCII.html

DAVID BECKHAM – THE ENGLISH FOOTBALLER

David was born on May 2, 1975 in Leytonstone, London to Ted and Sandra Beckham. David’s parents were Manchester United supporters and he accompanied then to many of the games. He signed for Manchester United as a trainee in July 1991 and he was instrumental in helping the club win the FA Youth Cup in May 1992, scoring in the second leg of the final against Crystal Palace. On September 23, 1992, David made his first team debut as a substitute in the Rumbelows Cup tie at Brighton and Hove Albion.During the two-and-a-half year wait to make his League debut, he collected a runners-up medal in the 1993 FA Youth Cup (United lost to Leeds in the final) and a reserve team championship medal in 1994. He also played five matches on loan for Preston North End, scoring two goals for the Lancashire club. His Premier League debut eventually came at home to Leeds United on April 2, 1995. Partially as a result of injuries to key starters, David established himself in the first team during the 1995/96 season.David played predominantly in the right midfield position that used to be occupied by Andrei Kanchelskis, and started to show the knack for scoring great goals, including the winner in the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea. At the end of the season Man United walked away with their second Double. The springboard that launched Davids’s famous career came during the 1996/97 season. David was compared to Pele when he scored his most famous goal – from the halfway line against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park. He went on to earn his first senior cap for England, on September 1, 1996 against Moldova in Kishinev.David’s match-winning performances during 1996/97 helped United to win another Premiership title and reach the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League. On a personal level, he was voted Young Player of the Year and second in the overall Player of the Year poll. Manchester United’s 1997/98 season was one to forget as they finished second to Arsenal in the League, lost to Barnsley in the FA Cup and were knocked out of the Champions League quarter-finals by Monaco. David enjoyed a memorable moment, when he was selected for England’s World Cup Finals squad.

During the 1998 World Cup Finals Beck scored a stunning freekick for England against Colombia and was hailed a national hero. He was later branded a villain, however, when he was sent off for a foul on Diego Simeone as England were knocked out in the second round by Argentina. That was the first red card of his career. The World Cup Finals left David at the bottom of his career. He was a hated man in England and many predicted the end of his football areer. He mustered up the courage and resilience to bounce back and prove his critcs wrong. In the first League game of the 1998/99 season against Leicester City, he curled in one of his trademark freekicks in stoppage time to prevent defeat.

If England’s 1998 World Cup campaign was the depth of dispair for Beckham, them Manchester United’s successful Trebble season in 1998/1999 was the height of ecstacy. The most important match of that season was the UEFA Champions League Finals with Bayern Munich. Manchester’s 2 goals were scored off corner kicks taken by David Beckham in overtime. The goals were scored by substitutes Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. England eventually forgave Beckham for his 1998 World Cup sins and readily accepted him as the captain of the national team.

Beckham captained England for the first time in a friendly match in Italy and retained the armband for the friendly with Spain and the World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Finland, against whom he scored an important goal at Anfield. He went on to lead to team to the 2002 World Cup Finals. In the game against Argentina, he scored the only goal – a penalty after Michaels Owens was tripped up. Argentina had a premature exit from the tournament after drawing 1-1 with Sweden in their next match.

The 2002/03 season was not a memorable one for Beckham as he found himself on the bench for some key matches. In a bizarre incident, he was struck on the forehead by a stray boot that was kicked in frustration by Sir Alex Ferguson in the dressing room. Rumors that he and the boss were not on speaking terms fueled the speculation that he would be sold at the end on the season. Unfortunately for many Manchester United fans, the rumors turned out to be true. David Beckham was sold to Real Madrid for £25 million. After more than 3 years at the Bernabeu, Beckham moved to the USA. David Beckham agreed to a £128million ($250 million) five-year deal with the LA Galaxy. Beckham already has a soccer academy in Los Angeles which shares a home with the Galaxy.

Checkout the ASCII Art of David Beckham in the below link. Please use Lucida Console font to view the art in Notepad. Before that in Notepad go to Format and Uncheck the Word Warp and then Go to Font and Reduce the Font Size to 3 to 4 pt. Use only Lucida Console Font.

http://www.4shared.com/document/LfY_uVjW/David_Beckham_ASCII.html