Performance Lab: Lionel Messi

Barça’s record-breaker has it all. FFT breaks down the ingredients that make him an unstoppable force so you too can reign supreme

NEW BALLS, PLEASE
Messi was picked up by Barça after they saw a video of him juggling some fruit. “He made 113 juggles with an orange,” recalled the agent who spotted him.
 
EXERCISE
The Messi workout

Set up P1 puts on a Viper Belt with flexi cord attached at front; P2 does likewise with flexi cord at back. P2 stands two metres in front of P1 so cord is taught. Place six cones in a line two metres apart.
Action P2 accelerates over the cones. After he has moved around 1.5m further away from P1, P1 accelerates and is towed at a high speed around the cones with the ball at his feet. Repeat.
 
MENTALITY
Bold thinking
“During a game I have crazy ideas in my head and I’m brave enough to implement these ideas.
 
NUTRITION
Just like mama makes
Messi’s favourite: His mum’s Milanese alla Napolitana 
“The sauce [onions, peppers, tomatoes, garlic] is high in antioxidants, while oregano has anti-inflammatory properties,” says elite sports nutritionist, Gavin Allinson. “Use any lean meat and coat it in almond or oat flour instead of breadcrumbs, which soak up the oil. Serve with green veg.”
 
62 METRES
Distance travelled  scoring wondergoal vs Getafe in 2007 – the same as Diego Maradona’s eerily similar second goal against England at Mexico 86.
 
SHOOTING
Finish like Messi

More after the break

Set up 25 x 25-yard grid with three balls set on cones eight yards apart at end one; three cones set six yards apart at end two. P1 stands to side of first cone at end one; P2 adjacent at same end, in line with middle cone.
Action P1 dribbles to middle cone, steps on it and leaves for P2, then sprints around far cone to give chase to P2, who dribbles towards opposite end, aiming to reach other end and get a shot away under pressure from P1.
 
For more football tips see:
Accelerate and beat your man like Messi
Float like a butterfly, sting like a flea
Move like Messi
Prime your legs to twist and turn through any gap
Add whoosh to your wiggle
Train like a superstar: Essential cardio
Eat like a superstar: Muscle fuel

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