Lio’s Bio

By: Joel Marino

If Lionel Messi is soccer’s reigning god, we just found his New Testament.

The soon-to-be-released Messi: The Inside Story of the Boy Who Became a Legend is an updated version of the Argentine superstar’s most comprehensive bio. In that earlier edition, Italian sportswriter Luca Caioli based his text on extended interviews with La Pulga, his family, and his past and present team members. Their word-for-word transcripts still make up the bulk of the content here, with new chapters chronicling recent accomplishments like Messi’s incredible record-breaking 2012–2013 season.

Keeping the book relevant is a welcome idea, as is the choice to retain the sources’ full conversations. Messi’s mom recalling the superstar’s childhood and renowned defender Roberto Perfumo ranting about Messi’s status as soccer’s messiah are particular gems.

Still, there are a few parts where the question-and-answer format gets overwhelming and over repetitive, especially in longer interviews. Nearly all the participants are asked if they think Messi is Diego Maradona’s replacement, and the player’s short height (5'7") is constantly depicted as a handicap—though there’s no doubt stature isn’t a problem for the four-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner.

But now that a biopic based on the book is in the works, the narrative glitches may be smoothed over for future editions. One thing we do know: this is one of those cases in which we’ll see the movie after having read the book.

Joel Marino is a NYC-based freelance writer and editor who enjoys traveling and saying “I told you so” as much as possible. When not writing, he spends his time on a never-ending quest to find the perfect empanada.