Young Lionel Messi Juggling the Soccer Ball

Young Messi juggling the soccer ball. Just watch how focused a very young Lionel Messi is on juggling the soccer ball. Messi is about ten years old in this video, with the soccer ball nearly as big as he is, but this doesn’t stop him from keeping the soccer ball up and off the ground. Supposedly this juggling skills demonstration was just after playing in a youth soccer tournament in Argentina.

And notice all the other kids around him, watching Messi juggle the ball, just waiting for him to mess up or lose focus. Of course Messi ignores them all and just keeps juggling the ball. It’s clear that Messi loves to play soccer and loves to make the ball do what he wants to do and that’s the key with juggling – control the ball and not having the ball make you move around too much as you try to keep it up in the air.

Lionel Messi at age 16 playing for Barcelona.

As Brian Phillips notes over at Grantland, Messi just loves playing soccer and trying to master the soccer ball. And that’s why he became the best soccer player in the world. He loved to play and only wanted to try to get better and better. Even now Messi has said he’s always trying to improve, as in how he now scores from free kicks, bending the ball into the upper corner for Barcelona when he didn’t do that before.

“There’s one in particular. He’s 10, and he’s surrounded by other kids in full uniforms — it’s during a match, maybe it’s halftime. And he’s just juggling the ball with his left foot. The other kids are standing close. He doesn’t seem to notice. He just watches the ball, keeps it up, foot, knee, foot, knee. He looks transfixed. You get an impression of someone so absorbed by the movement of the ball that it occupies his entire mind.

That everything outside the connection he has with the ball is not quite real. Not that it’s menacing or unpleasant; just that it’s sort of to one side. He’s not interested in other people and their egos or in whether he’s being watched. He’s interested in the ball, in making it do what he wants. It’s an end to him, not a means. There’s a feeling of extreme serenity that I take from this. He played the same way as a 17-year-old. He plays the same way now.”

Then watch this juggling display by Barcelona’s Iniesta, Busquets and Xavi.