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by TV News Desk
He has just won the top award in soccer for a fourth time in a row, only a few weeks after breaking the 40-year-old record for scoring the most goals in a calendar year. And he's only 25. What's next for Lionel Messi? More goals and more records, for sure, but he is more focused on his club, he tells Bob Simon in a rare interview to be featured on the premiere edition of 60 Minutes SPORTS airing on Showtime on Wednesday, Jan. 9 (10:00 PM, ET/PT).
"There's always space to grow up and be better. We never reach perfection," says the FC Barcelona forward considered by some to be the best football player ever. "I will keep trying to be better and better and keep growing as a player," he tells Simon. What does he think about being considered the best? "It's unbelievable that people think so... to be recognized as #1. But Barca is not just Messi. Barca has very good players."
Barcelona-based sports writer and broadcaster Graham Hunter is one of the cognoscenti who believe Messi is the best ever to play what is the most popular sport on the planet. "He does things that nobody's ever seen before. He does things that nobody understands how he produces them," says Hunter, who has no doubts. "I've spent my life studying this."
Messi, who stands just 5'7" today, overcame a hormone deficiency that stunted his growth when he was a young football standout in his native Argentina. FC Barcelona took a chance on the undersized 13-year-old, taking on his expensive hormone treatments and enrolling him in its famed football academy known as La Masia.
He proved himself quickly, says Barcelona teammate and La Masia alum Cesc Fabregas. "The first time he made one move with his body he left me on the floor, he scored the goal and I said, 'Wow, this guy is serious. He's going to be a real talent.' And from that day, he's been unstoppable," he remembers.
Messi says he had no notion of just how good he was at the time. "I never truly realized, to be honest," he says. "Never really thought that I was going to be really good or not.
"No. Back then, I couldn't even dare to dream about all that has happened to me," says Messi.
The 60 Minutes SPORTS segment is illustrated with sensational footage of some of Messi's greatest moments on the field. Simon also speaks with Messi's father, Jorge, and Charlie Rexach, the FC Barcelona official who fought to bring the young star into the organization.